Art Hirahara

The Rhythm Section, Vol. 4

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Although not specifically billed as a tribute to Joe Henderson, this fourth release by the West Coast Rhythm Section certainly had the tenor sax player in mind when putting together the play list. Of the 12 pieces on the agenda, Henderson's music accounts for 25 percent of them. At the same time, Coltrane is represented, as is Victor Feldman, Ron Carter, and Kenny Dorham. Then, without blinking a musical eyelash, up jumps Cole Porter with three pieces. This diversity means that the astounding trio has given itself carte blanche to show off their many-faceted musical skills in any manner they see fit. They plays music they likes without regard to being pigeonholed as this or that type of trio. This is a hard-playing group who stretch the capacities of each member, as onHenderson's classic, jagged "Inner Urge," withArt Hirahara's energetic piano setting the course and newcomer Daryl Green's drums propelling the group along with not too gentle reminders on the drums that this is supposed to be hard bop at its most powerful and supreme. Matters becomes slightly, but only slightly, less hectic on "All of You." At the outset, due respect is given to the melody, but then the group takes off, subjecting Porter's classic to a number of improvisational schemes led by Hirahara and Naim Satya on bass. The group is not adverse to interjecting some surprises at places where you might not expect them, and even if you did, they are so suddenly inserted, they come as a surprise anyway. Hirahara introduces a few off-center discordant harmonies during Coltrane's "Count Down," which makes the listener sit up and take notice. A take no prisoners, this CD is recommended.