CD review

Peter Hum – “Ordinary Heroes”

Peter Hum – Ordinary Heroes
(peterhum.bandcamp.com. CD review by Mike Collins)

From across the Atlantic comes a recording by Canadian polymath, pianist and composer Peter Hum. Ordinary Heroes is a set of ten Hum originals in a firmly melodic, contemporary groove. With the fine band he’s assembled to play them, it’s a very satisfying set packing an emotional punch.

Hum has a seductive way with a rhythmic hook or well crafted riff to launch a tune. Crises and Reckonings is set up with two chiming chords before Ted Warren’s cymbal adds momentum, and David Smith’s trumpet layers on a strong melodic motif to lift the energy further. Cassandra has similar elements with a more extended melodic theme. What really gives it wings is the blend of Smith’s assertive-with-a-fragile-edge sound on trumpet and the warm, ragged sound of Kenji Omae’s tenor. There’s a chemistry between the two and with the band, that works a bit of magic with all Hum’s attractive compositions. Fake News Blues bustles with a snappy rhythm section figure under declamatory phrases from the horns. Omae really lets rip over the swinging groove after a fluid solo from guitarist Mike Rud.

Some of the stand-out moments are in more thoughtful pieces. One such is Tears for the Innocent. There’s a steady momentum and a chanting theme, articulated first by Dave Watts on bass then taken up by the trumpet and sax. They bring the piece to climax after extended and emotional soloing from Watts, Hum and Rud. Another highlight is the title track that closes the set. A gently rocking groove under a hymn-like melody evokes powerful solos from Rud and Omae again.

The even-quavered Nebulous Compensation and gentle waltz Embers vary moods further, making for an engaging set with plenty of depth and some really fine playing, repaying repeated listens.

Mike Collins is a pianist and writer based in Bath, who runs the jazzyblogman site. Twitter @jazzyblogman

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