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CD Review: Andy Hague – Cross My Palm

Andy Hague – Cross My Palm
(Ooh-Err 006. CD Review by Chris Parker)

As the mock self-deprecating name of the record label suggests, trumpeter Andy Hague’s band is rooted in the West Country; indeed their last tour was reviewed thus in the Independent: ‘The collective impact of what amounts to a South-West supergroup was close to overpowering.’

Hague, a bright, fluent, punchy trumpet soloist, has assembled a lively, sparky band – Jim Blomfield (piano), Will Harris (bass) and Mark Whitlam (bass) – to help him deliver his neat, vibrant themes,and they’re joined from time to time by Ben Waghorn (tenor/alto sax) and the silky-voiced Brigitte Beraha.

The material is mostly brisk, hard-boppish music in the modern mainstream seam mined by the likes of Clark Tracey, Spirit Level and DSQ, nodding not only to Blue Note heroes such as Horace Silver (the title-track, recorded live at the Be-Bop Club) and Kenny Dorham (‘For Kenny Dorham’) but also to more contemporary figures such as Wynton Marsalis and Marcus Printup, and the resultant album is breezy, muscular and consistently listenable.

There are traces of all sorts of music within Hague’s pieces, ranging from New Orleans-type shuffles to latin wafts and modal jazz, but it is the sheer quality and power of the solos (Hague’s in particular, but also Blomfield’s consistently accomplished contributions) that really draw the ear to this wholly enjoyable set.

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