Jazz CD Reviews

Bruce Hornsby, piano; Christian McBride, bass; Jack DeJohnette, drums – Camp Meeting – Sony Legacy

An excellent and surprising jazz trio album from all-around pop musician Hornsby

Published on August 8, 2007

Bruce Hornsby, piano; Christian McBride, bass; Jack DeJohnette, drums – Camp Meeting – Sony Legacy
Bruce Hornsby, piano; Christian McBride, bass; Jack DeJohnette, drums – Camp Meeting – Sony Legacy 88679 09663 2, 64:37 ****:

Seeing this instrumental trio jazz release from British singer/songwriter, whose last album was a bluegrass collaboration with Ricky Skaggs, was quite a surprise. It turns out Hornsby attended the Berklee College of Music and often took extended jazz-like piano solos in some of his songs.  He was invited by Pat Metheny to join him for a gig with a university jazz band, and afterwards Metheny urged Hornsby to make a jazz record.  Then last year drummer DeJohnette asked Hornsby, “When are we going to do something?” and this CD is the result.

Hornsby likes to compare his situation to becoming fluent in French but not speaking it for 30 years, but then you are hired to be a French translator at the U.N.  He says to imagine how hard that would be, and that was what it was like for him playing jazz again.

There are four originals by Hornsby and the other tunes come from Miles Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Bud Powell, Ornette Coleman and Keith Jarrett.   His style is quite cutting-edge and sophisticated, not afraid of less-than-tonal forays such as on the opening rare Ornette Coleman tune Questions and Answers.  Some tracks are close to eight minutes, with long solos reflecting Hornsby’s eclectic tastes in music, which range from Samuel Barber and Charles Ives to Bud Powell and Keith Jarrett.  My favorite was the closing track of Bud Powell’s Un Poco Loco mixed with Hornsby’s original Chant Song.

TrackList: Questions and Answers; Charlie, Woody and You; Solar; Death and the Flower; Camp Meeting; Giant Steps, Celia; We’ll Be Together Again; Stacked Mary Possum; Straight, No Chaser; Un Poco Loco/Chant Song

- John Henry




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