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Mcneil, John & Bill Mchenry / Chill Morn He Climb Jenny
Album:Chill Morn He Climb Jenny Collection:Jazz
Artist:Mcneil, John & Bill Mchenry Added:10/2010
Label:Sunnyside Communications 

A-File Activity
Add Date:2011-01-30 Pull Date:2011-04-03 Charts:Jazz
Week Ending:20 Mar13 Mar27 Feb13 Feb6 Feb
Airplays:11223

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Album Review
Be Sharp
Reviewed 2011-01-28 
This is a good disc with some standards and some lesser known oldies in a variety of jazz styles. A bright sounding small combo with two leaders plays mostly accessible mainstream jazz. John McNeil is on trumpet, and Bill McHenry plays the tenor saxophone. They're backed by a competent rhythm section of Joe Martin (bass) and Jochen Rueckert (drums).

Most of the music here is pretty good and quite listenable, but none is new or especially striking. The two leaders trade their longish solos over a walking bass line and a steady rhythm played mainly on the ride cymbal. This fairly traditional formula gets stale after the umpteenth time, but they occasionally get more complicated and then the music is a lot more interesting.

The album was recorded live at Cornelia Street Cafe in NYC. It sounds like there are about ten people in the audience. Each track fades out with a few seconds of polite smattered applause. The CD is from Sunnyside Records, an independent jazz specialty company.

No FCC issues.
The best tracks: numbers 5 & 4, then numbers 2, 6, & 8.

1. “Moonlight in Vermont” (10:20) – A pop hit in the 40s, this is one of those jazz standards that’s been recorded by just about everyone. This take is very slow and improvisational. The opening sequence is very strange indeed: McNeil makes his trumpet sound like a conch shell or something. In few minutes into it though, the ugly duckling grows into a swan and there are some quite lovely passages. On the whole this is somewhat more “difficult” jazz than most of the other fare on the disc. For that reason, some will prefer it.

2. * “Batter Up” (6:19) – Very up-tempo bebop. The long sax solo is terrific. Of this one and #5, in a very similar style, I like the other one a bit more.

3. “Aren’t You Glad You’re You” (7:16) – A sappy song from a sappy movie. There’s some good improvisation in the middle, but the opening and closing statements are cloyingly pop. (Yes I know Miles did some stuff like this too, but we forgave him.)

4. ** “Maid in Mexico” (7:09) – We go south of the border for this one. It’s one of the better tracks on the disc, as the leaders play counterpoint against each other more often. The percussion here is quite interesting too.

5. ** “Bea’s Flat” (5:43) – Again, very up-tempo bebop; a real toe tapper. Opens with the leaders playing unison which is interesting. McNeil does his best Dizzy impression. A slight winner over the very similar #2.

6. * “Three and One” (9:14) – Medium tempo with an ambiguous time signature sort of like a Brubeck piece, but there’s no Paul Desmond here. Long trumpet & sax solos are intriguing. The bass player is featured nicely here as well.

7. “Carioca” (6:10) – Latin again. Strong in spots but ordinary in others.

8. * “Wells Fargo” (10:54) – Like #6, this has a cool rather than a bop vibe. Think of beatniks with goatees; jazz night at the coffee shop. This is very good in places, but I liked #6 a bit better in this style.

9. “No Blues (Pfrancing)” (3:30) – This take on a Miles Davis tune is briefly the freest sounding and most "avant" stuff here. Two talkovers to introduce the band members spoil it on record though.

Track Listing
1.Moonlight In Vermont 5.Bea's Flat
2.Batter Up 6.Three And One
3.Aren't You Glad You're You 7.Carioca
4.Maid In Mexico 8.Wells Fargo
 9.No Blues (Pfrancing)