Jazzlamic Jihad

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Although its name may lead one to think that the Jazzlamic Jihad is a religious group or an ensemble from Saudi Arabia, it is actually a combo from New Jersey. The catch is that the musicians believe religiously in having a "holy war" for hard bop. Considering the successes of the Young Lions, it seems that this battle was won before these players joined up. The sextet of local musicians (guitarist Chuck Welch, altoist Will Jordan, Bob Leibowitz on tenor, trumpeter Jesse Hughes, bassist Reed Ellenberger and drummer Dan Weeks) are decent but not really world-class, although guitarist Welch and altoist Jordan have reasonably strong voices. To the group's credit, they perform eight of their own straight-ahead originals (contributed by four of the players) and some of the heads are fairly tricky, although the chord changes tend to be a bit basic. It will be interesting to see if any of these sincere musicians develop beyond this point and "make it" in the world of jazz.