Lou Blackburn

Jazz Frontier

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Lou Blackburn's debut Imperial session adheres largely to bop sensibilities, although traces of the pop and soul influences that would creep into his subsequent recordings are present as well; with so many forces pulling the music in so many directions, Jazz Frontier lacks some of the clarity and purpose of the trombonist's most effective recordings, but there is still much here to savor. Paired with up-and-coming pianist Horace Tapscott as well as trumpeter Freddie Hill, bassist John Duke, and drummer Leroy Henderson, Blackburn boasts a style and grace that belie his instrument of choice. He also proves a preternaturally gifted composer, with a distinctive sense of melody. Although it promises more than it delivers, it's a worthwhile and occasionally exciting recording. [Jazz Frontier was reissued in 2006 with its follow-up Two Note Samba as The Complete Imperial Sessions.]

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