Tom Harrell Quintet/The Village Vanguard May 10 - 15, 2011 - Wall Street Journal

Tom Harrell Quintet

The Village Vanguard
178 Seventh Ave. South, (212) 255-4037
Through Sunday

At 64, trumpeter Tom Harrell's playing and compositions continue to get better and better. Using the same consistently excellent quintet (saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, keyboardist Danny Grissett, bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Jonathan Blake) he's fronted for the last five years and four albums, Mr. Harrell keeps coming up with one intriguing new tune after another, displaying a personal approach to melody, harmony and form—not to mention one of the most beautiful trumpet tones currently out there. He's one of the few bandleaders who can hit us with nine new original compositions in a row and still hold our attention. He also employs tactics that one might in other contexts find gimmicky, like electronic keyboards and the solar-system sounds heard at the start of his excellent new album, "The Time of The Sun," and makes them sound marvelously musical.