Fred Hughes

No Turning Back

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Summit has consistently demonstrated an interest in discovering musicians worthy of greater recognition. Pianist Fred Hughes is a veteran of the U.S. Army's Jazz Ambassadors and also a jazz educator. Joining him on his debut date as a leader are bassist Steve Zerlin and drummer Frank Russo. The trio brings a new dimension to Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring," alternating between subdued sections and driving workouts. "All the Things You Are" achieves an even darker mood, modifying Dizzy Gillespie's well-known introduction by altering the bassline and adding a Latin feeling and an extended vamp, before releasing into a playful waltz-time setting. Russo's brushes introduce "My Romance," a jaunty arrangement that will keep the listener guessing until Hughes sneaks into the theme. All of Hughes' originals are worth investigating as well, especially the light but funky "Cruisin' Home" and the strutting gospel-flavored blues "C'mon Let's Go." But there is also a hidden 11th track, obliquely referred to in the CD booklet.) Recommended.

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