The Sean Jones Quartet
Review by Willard Maus

The subtitle of Jones’ seventh and latest release is “–-never before seen.” Jones explains it thusly: “It’s a reintroduction of who I am...a conscious decision to approach this latest step in my artistic evolution as a trumpet player, composer and leader.”


A longtime member (and lead trumpeter) of the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra, Jones went into the studio with band-mates Orrin Evans (piano), Luques Curtis (bass) and Obed Calvaire (drums) to produce a live session (no fancy production or overdubs) that would have the immediacy and urgency of a bygone jazz age, though it should be stressed that his playing is anything but old-fashioned.

As leader on this Mack Avenue CD, Jones plays six of his own compositions, plus five other tunes written by the likes of Jackie McLean and Stephen Sondheim. At all times he is a commanding presence on the trumpet, playing with a crisp, flawless sound. The same can be said for the rest of the quartet, each one of whom is a remarkable musician in his own right.

Produced by Christian McBride and Al Pryor, QUARTET ranges between lyrical exploration, fiery swing and down-home blues. There are also some delightful surprises, such as a slowed-down deconstruction of How High the Moon. That old chestnut becomes a sparkling gem in Jones’ interpretation.

QUARTET offers nearly two hours of fresh-sounding, exquisitely played jazz, much of it improvised.

( or