Tom Harrell
The Time Of The Sun HIGH NOTE 7222 ★★★★

The first 20 seconds of Tom Harrell’s latest High Note release set an appropriately high bar for what’s to come—as in, 93 million miles high. The disc kicks off with a mesmerizing shimmer of circular sounds reminiscent of some cross between a time-lapsed cymbal crash and an aquatic sonic boom. In fact, the sounds are three recordings of “harmonies produced by the magnetic field in the outer atmosphere of the sun," as the disc jacket indicates.

This stirringly beautiful opening becomes a point of departure for the title track, an ethereal slow-burner that exemplifies the increasingly heady material Harrell and his cur- rent quintet have been forging since 2006. Cementing the foundations of Harrell’s gorgeously inventive melodic ideas, the group’s top-notch rhythm section employs funk-filled rhythms here as adroitly as their leader finds inspiration in the melodies of the solar system.

On “Ridin’," the funkiest track, drummer Johnathan Blake diverges from his
otherwise spacey atmospheric underlays to deliver a series of swinging grooves complemented by Danny Grissett’s Rhodes. The more contained and Earth-bound “Estuary" moves in tides, with gentle piano teasers lapping at Harrell’s often genius trumpet lines. A swell of energy eventually alters the tune’s direction, as Wayne Escoffery’s tenor challenges the melody with a storm of angular playing. In the final wave, those same sharp angles tumble into a smooth solo finish before being washed away by Harrell’s celestial return.

Start to finish, this is some of Harrell’s most elegant and addictively moving work.
—Jennifer Odell

The Time of The sun: The Time Of The Sun; Estuary; Ridin’; The Open Door; Dream Text; Modern Life; River Samba; Cactus; Otra. (62:25) personnel: Tom Harrell, trumpet, flugelhorn; Wayne Escoffery, tenor saxophone; Danny Grissett, piano, Fender Rhodes; ugonna Okegwo, bass; Johnathan Blake, drums.
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