Carl Bartlett, Jr.: Hopeful (2013)
Barlett cites influences such as saxophonists Charlie Parker and Sonny Stitt, But "Fidgety Season," with its edgy shifts between waltz and 5/4 time, combined with the leader's tart, dry tone and sharp angles, is reminiscent of altoist Jackie McLean's approach.
Of the six originals presented here, none is more beautiful than "Julie B." With a gorgeous intro by pianist Sharp Radway, it is a heartfelt ode Bartlett's mother, showcasing the saxophonist's deft and soulfuland sentimentaltouch with the ballad form, with his band delivering just the right light and delicate accompaniment. Barlett draws long, sweet lines, and seems to say "Never Let Me Go," as the tune winds down, teary-eyed.
Barlett closes the set out with a ten minute take on the standard, "It Could Happen to You." Joined by his uncle, Charles Bartlett, on trumpetwho plays with a bright, fiery sass that brings trumpeter Lee Morgan to mind. It's an up-tempo bop romp, with leader and band sounding particularly inspired.
Bartlett closes out this excellent debut with some fun, the familiar "I Love Lucy," the theme from one of the most popular situation comedies of all time. Beginning in a ballad mode, the band then shifts into full forward momentum, with a swing, for a rousing wrap to Hopeful.
Track Listing: Hopeful; Fidgety Season; Julie B.; Quantum Leaps (And Bounds); Release; Seven Up; It Could Happen To You; I Love Lucy.
Personnel: Carl Bartlett, Jr.: alto saxophone; Sharp Radway: piano; Eric Lemon: bass; Emanuel Harrold: drums; Charles Bartlett: trumpet (7); Ron Jackson: guitar (4).
Record Label: Self Produced
Style: Modern Jazz