Josh Lawrence, Call Time Review
By Sylvannia Garutch
Josh Lawrence is releasing Call Time, his latest Posi-Tone Records project, with seven tracks of a broad palette of qualities and textures. The trumpeter brings a quintet for his fourth album for Posi-Tone, the ever-present Posi-Tone team of bassist Boris Kozlov and pianist Art Hirahara, rounded out with drummer Jason Tiemann and saxophonist Willie Morris. Together the five musicians form a pleasing unit that focuses on group communication and musical expression.
“Paradise In Blue” opens with a rubato melody in which Lawrence’s warm trumpet tone will inspire you to listen to the following selection, “Pumpkin Pi,” a delightful medium swing composition. The two-horn melody is memorable as Lawrence and Morris flow with a relaxed swing. Lawrence’s improvisational style flows from the Miles Davis lineage, where the focus is time feel, melody, and space. His warm tone and clarity of pitch are other highlights of his style. The ensemble swings and Lawrence performs a delightful solo.
Celebrating the hard-bop sound of the 50s is “Black Bottom’s Up.” Lawrence does an excellent job of making the “Oleo” styled approach from the Miles Davis Quintet work very well here. His Harmon mute tone is round and resilient as he mixes blues with bop lines to outline the rhythm changes clearly. Hirahara does not play on this track, and hearing Lawrence and Morris perform with just bass and drums accompaniment lets you hear their harmonic/melodic language.
Call Time is a very musical and stylish set from Lawrence. His tone and melodic approach are modern while still being imbued in the classic 50s and 60s jazz heritage. The ensemble is a strong unit, and everyone plays well with each other and communicates beautifully. Though this is not Lawrence’s regular working ensemble, they still have chemistry, but I do wonder how his regular ensemble would sound performing this set. Lawrence is a beautifully clear trumpet player and one you should have on your radar.