Alan Barnes with the Text Messengers, Be-bop Club, May 7
Mike Collins has already sketched this one here, and as usual spots all the good things about this outfit who got a warm response from a good post-election crowd down at the Bear.
Other thoughts on a fine sextet? It was indeed standard fare – both in terms of Great American Songbook type standards (on Broadway, Here’s That Rainy Day, Come Rain or Come Shine) and fairly predictable selections from the Blue Note songbook. Funny how bands who dig into that era that hardly ever try Sam Rivers or Andrew Hill, whose roster of compositions would allow something a bit more unexpected to happen: Wayne Shorter is usually as far out as they go, though none of him tonight either.
They were nice arrangements throughout, though, courtesy of Hague, who contributes so much to the local scene through sheer insdustriousness as well as musical flair.
Horn players often seem to shine on tunes written by people who play the same instrument – maybe they pen tunes which lend themselves well to the particular timbre, I don’t know. Maybe the players are inspired by the thought of their illustrious predecessors. Anyhow, Ben Waghorn came through with an especially convincing solo on Blue Bossa (comp: Henderson) and Andy Hague on a modal Freddie Hubbard tune and again on Charles Tolliver’s Paper Man. Alan Barnes was his excellent self all evening, relaxed in between numbers, completely committed whenever he played. A fine musician in his element here.
And the rhythm section made it all go with a snap, especially Jim Blomfield (a “be-bop hod carrier” according to Barnes for his backing of the others solos, and contibuting plenty of fleet solo work himself). Altogether another nice Hague project, and we got the benefit.