Tommy Chase

Hard!

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Led by drummer Tommy Chase, and also featuring Alan Barnes (alto/tenor sax), Nick Weldon (piano), and Andrew Cleyndert, this British quartet makes no bones about playing hard bop on this 1983 session. The phrase hard bop is not only referred to in the title; it's also used as the very first two words of the liner notes. Certainly, the album's revivalist in nature; it sounds as if it could well have been done in the '50s, and five of the six songs in fact were written by top boppers, including covers of Gigi Gryce's "Minority," Duke Jordan's "No Problem," Tadd Dameron's "Ladybird," Sonny Criss' "Blue Sunset," and Sam Jones' "Del Sasser." Nick Weldon's "The Message" is the only original (and convincingly emulates the brand of bop emphasizing rolling start-stop tempos), and "Blue Sunset" is the only point at which the tempo slows close to ballad territory. The record's good straight-ahead bop, and each of the players is skilled. But the lack of original material on a record so dedicated to playing in a style that had been popular for decades keeps it from being a particularly noteworthy effort.

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