Michael Moore / John Pope / Johnny Hunter – Something Happened
(NEWJAiM16 CD + DL. Album review by Jon Turney)
Itinerant jazz players can usually reckon on finding colleagues who play well enough to keep them on their toes wherever they go these days. So it is in this trio session joining the vastly experienced expatriate American saxophonist and clarinet player Michael Moore with the inspired rhythm team of John Pope on bass and Johnny Hunter on drums.
Moore came from his home in Amsterdam to the North of England early last year to play a short series of gigs with the trio, and they squeezed in this studio session before his departure. It preserves ten mostly short pieces that show how well they communicated via the shared vocabulary of their craft. Moore draws freely on a full range of past masters, with hints of everyone from Coleman to Rollins, Henderson and even Braxton, and has fresh things to say. His younger partners are equally well-versed in the tradition and respond alertly to every new twist in the music. Oh yes, and all three swing like the clappers.
Together, they offer Providence, a simple riff-based blowing vehicle; A Simple Change, that sounds freely improvised but remains tuneful; swinging freebop that suits a chordless trio perfectly on Undulation; pastoral musings for clarinet on First Half of May; and five more pieces that all display a warm three-way interaction and, often, a sly good humour.
These short-lived encounters between musicians who share their best inspiration, then move on, are one of the ways jazz is refreshed and renewed. This seems to have been an especially fruitful one, and it is good to have it documented here. May they meet again!
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