John Temmerman's Jazz Obsession Quartet

The Power of Two

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One of the exciting things about Grover Washington, Jr.'s live concerts was his ability to play electric jazz-funk one minute and straightahead jazz the next. Jazz-funk and pop-jazz dominated most of the late saxman's studio albums, but on stage, everything from "Mr. Magic" to Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments" was fair game. A similar outlook prevails on The Power of Two, which finds Chicago tenor man John Temmerman fluctuating between straightahead jazz and not-so-straightahead jazz. Temmerman's big tone is reminiscent of Dexter Gordon, but while Gordon generally stuck to bop (except for the occasional modal tune), Temmerman is obviously comfortable with straightahead post-bop as well as jazz-funk. Parts of The Power of Two exist in a modal Joe Henderson/John Coltrane/Yusef Lateef world; other parts are closer to the sort of groove-oriented jazz-funk that one associates with Washington, Wilton Felder and Ronnie Laws. And Temmerman, to his credit, is expressive in both areas. The Chicagoan plays convincingly on Miles Davis' "All Blues," Wayne Henderson's "Whispering Pines" and various post-bop tunes of his own, but he is equally appealing on jazz-funk tracks that include Max Bennett's funky "T.C.B. in E" and "Slam Time" (a Temmerman original that isn't unlike something the late Eddie Harris--who was also from Chicago--would have done in the ‘60s or ‘70s). Leading his pianoless Jazz Obsession Quartet--which also includes guitarist Neal Alger, electric bassist Steven Hashimoto and drummer Rusty Jones--Temmerman doesn't do anything groundbreaking. All of these 2001 performances could have been recorded 30 or 40 years earlier. But Temmerman is good at what he does, and The Power of Two is an enjoyable demonstration of his versatility.

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