Tim Armacost

The Wishing Well

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Tim Armacost's second release on the Double-Time label is solidly within the post-bop mainstream, yet uncommonly ambitious. Any young tenor player who dares to tackle as grand a composition as John Coltrane's "Crescent" is aiming high. No less bold is his decision to open the album with "Body and Soul," a proving ground for tenor saxophonists since Coleman Hawkins put it on the map in 1939 (and Coltrane reinvented it in 1960). Armacost handles these challenges well, bookending "Crescent" with turbulent rubato passages (hats off to drummer Billy Hart) and taking "Body and Soul" at an easy 3/4 clip. His own compositions are intelligent and varied: "Sustenance" and "Special Delivery" are brisk and burning, "Black Sand Beach" is a well-crafted ballad, and the title track is a peppy samba. His playing is passionate and strikingly mature, and as an up-and-coming jazzer, he couldn't have asked for better sidemen than Billy Hart, bassist Ray Drummond, and pianist Bruce Barth. While The Wishing Well doesn't quite have the raw energy of 1998's Live at Small's (even though it was also recorded live, in Holland), it is still a fine offering from a fine musician.

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