With the tenors of our time
Roy Hargrove is the best of the new breed of hard bop trumpet players, and this 1993-4 album finds him joined by five major tenor saxophone stylists. There are three elder statesmen, Johnny Griffin, Joe Henderson and Stanley Turrentine, as well as Joshua Redman, who is the same age as Hargrove, and Branford Marsalis, from the previous generation of ‘young lions’; they don’t all play together, which might have been interesting if chaotic, but rather take it in turns to join Hargrove’s quintet. Everyone plays well, especially Hargrove, who sounds just as good as the ‘60s players he modelled himself on, and the selection of material and group sound is excellent. Highlights include Hargrove’s ‘Soppin’ the Biscuit’, with Turrentine’s highly distinctive, vocalised tenor wailing and shaking away, an advanced solo by Marsalis on the Sonny Rollins number ‘Valse Hot’, and some vintage Johnny Griffin on pianist Cyrus Chestnut’s low-down ‘Greens at the Chicken Shack’.