Hadley Caliman

Straight Ahead

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Hadley Caliman has had a long, distinguished career as a sideman, appearing on albums by Gerald Wilson, Bobby Hutcherson, Hampton Hawes, and Joe Henderson, among others, though he has had relatively sporadic opportunities to record as a leader. His second CD for Origin indicates he may have found a regular outlet for his music, backed by the young trumpeter Thomas Marriott (who also records as a leader for the label and appeared on Caliman's first Origin CD), pianist Eric Verlinde, bassist Phil Sparks, and drummer Matt Jorgenson. Rather than choose typical approaches, such as heavy doses of originals or covers of familiar standards and jazz works, Caliman mixes it up with a few of each, plus less frequently played gems. Harold Land's “Rapture" has yet to enter the jazz canon, but the blend between the leader and Marriott in this soothing, easygoing piece suggests a relaxing walk along a sunny beach. Lee Morgan's “Totem Pole" is overshadowed by his better-known compositions, though the quintet makes the most of this long-forgotten hard bop vehicle. The originals also stand out. Marriott's vibrant “Cathlamet" has a bit of an urban swagger, while Caliman's upbeat “Cigar Eddie" blends soul-jazz with a Latin undercurrent that turns Afro-Cuban at its conclusion. Caliman's potent solo in “Lush Life" and playfulness in a brisk finale of “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" also breathe new life into these familiar pieces.

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