Hears of State ‘confirm their authority’ with ‘Four in One’

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Charlie Parker,Davis,Eddie Harris,John Lewis,the Gershwins and Thelonious Monk,Wayne Shorter
LABELS: Smoke Sessions
ALBUM TITLE: Heads Of State
WORKS: Four in One
PERFORMER: Gary Bartz (saxophone), Larry Willis (piano), David Williams (bass), Al Foster (drums)

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Clocking up just shy of 300 years on the planet, and not many fewer years of distinguished service to jazz, this quartet might be excused for resting on its collective laurels, which incorporate CVs encompassing spells with Miles Davis, Jackie McLean and McCoy Tyner, to name a tiny fraction. But they don’t. Their playing, full of vim, vigour and soupçons of vinegar, is replete with incisive improvisations realised as energetically as you might expect from musicians much their junior. Even the slow numbers ooze vitality. Their choice of repertoire can hardly be faulted either. As well as a fine tune apiece by each member of the group, they tackle classic compositions by Davis, Eddie Harris, John Lewis, Charlie Parker, Wayne Shorter, the Gershwins and Thelonious Monk. There is nothing groundbreaking, but so what? These musicians don’t need to prove anything, yet nonetheless confirm their authority on every track.

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Barry Witherden