John Adams

Jump Shot

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Jump Shot is Dallas-area bassist John Adams' 1996 recorded debut as a bandleader, released on his own Congruent Music Co. imprint. A strictly acoustic affair, the album credibly averts succumbing to an over-abundance of bass solos, a setback that has polluted many a bassist-led session in the past. When Adams does assume the solo spotlight, however -- as he does during the sextet's take on "Darn That Dream" or in certain moments of "Kyrie" -- it's tasteful and succinct. Individual indulgence seems to bow before bop's altar of ensemble worship throughout Jump Shot, as Adams and his sidemen (including veteran sessionmen Marvin Stamm on trumpet/flugelhorn and Warren Bernhardt on piano) bounce through a collection of jaunty originals and thoughtful covers. Adams twists the typical sextet lineup on this album by eschewing saxophone for not one, but two trombones (played by Chris Seiter and Greg Waits); as expected, this instrumentation tweak beefs up horn arrangements. Elsewhere, a stark, yet graceful interpretation of Victor Young's "Beautiful Love" (featuring only Adams and drummer Ed Soph) provides a rest halfway through the disc, while Pachabel's "Canon in D" closes the album on familiar melodic terrain due in no small part to Bernhardt's warm piano work.

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