THE TIME OF THE SUN "Best New Jazz/Improvised Music Albums of 2011" - Culture Catch

Tom Harrell: The Time of the Sun (HighNote)

Trumpeter/flugelhornist Harrell, now a grizzled veteran, makes consistently interesting albums. His compositions (he wrote everything here) are quite original in a distinctive funky, slightly fusiony post-bop style. The title track in particular is a masterpiece; most immediately striking are what sound like synthesizer riffs, but are actually "recordings of the musical harmonies produced by the magnetic field in the outer atmosphere of the sun"; it's also built on a 12-note bassline, yet sounds vaguely modal nonetheless; it's got a funky groove enhanced by Fender Rhodes. Fortunately Harrell's working quintet of five years with Wayne Escoffery (tenor sax), Danny Grissett (piano, Fender Rhodes), Ugonna Okegwo (bass), and Johnathan Blake (drums) have strong enough personalities, matched with familiarity with the music and each other, to grant the flavorful compositions their full-bodied due in characterful, seamlessly realized interpretations.