Half Notes: Melvin Jones – Pivot (2011)

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photo: Tameka Pero

Listening to this record before I even read Melvin Jones’ liner notes, I already knew what he meant by the title of this debut album by him. It’s an album that has many shades of jazz on display, and the constant is the pure, malleable trumpet voice of Jones. So I had to nod in agreement when I read Jones’ words in the sleeve: “There is a…applicable understanding of the word which is ‘to turn our focus in various directions without losing our original position’.” Though his first record as a leader, there’s nothing green about it: Jones produced and wrote all the thirteen tracks on it. Using a capable crew for a classic jazz quintet setting (trumpet/sax/piano/bass/drums) and supplementing it with some well placed guest spots by others, Jones “pivots” seamlessly through the Afro-Latin energy of “The Jug-Or-Knot”, the genteel 60s Blue Note vibe of “Inner Tubes,” the complex, shifty rhythms of “Dizzyspell,” and funky soul strut of “Funkytown Shuffle.” Starting his professional career in a big way—a guest spot on TLC’s blockbuster Fanmail album (1998)—the Atlanta-based Jones has performed and taught the world over, playing all over the musical map, too. Pivot is the distillation of a musician’s varied and rich experiences.

Half Notes is a quick-take music feature on Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us. Pivot was issued on April 26, by Turnaround Records. Check out Melvin Jones’ website here.

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