Thomas Heflin

Symmetry

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A fluent trumpeter with a bright tone and a forward-looking style that sometimes recalls Woody Shaw, Thomas Heflin is clearly an up-and-coming player. On Symmetry, four of the selections were recorded with a quintet in 2002 that features the late pianist James Williams and vibraphonist Chris Conner. A high point is their modernized but melodic version of "When It's Sleepy Time Down South." A trio number from 2006 with pianist Louis Heriveaux and bassist Tom Sauter, "Eastern Star" is a thoughtful ballad that pays tribute to Williams. Otherwise, the performances are by a quartet with Heflin, Heriveaux, Sauter, and drummer Quinn Blandford from 2005. The music includes the straight-ahead blues "Sketch in Blue," fresh versions of songs by Cole Porter, Thelonious Monk, Bobby Hutcherson, and Woody Shaw, and a variety of inventive Heflin originals. The only misfire is an overly straight melodic reading of Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour," which makes one think that the CD machine switched to the wrong disc; fortunately, the solos compensate. Overall, this is a highly enjoyable effort by Thomas Heflin, a very promising trumpeter.

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