|Enoch Smith Jr. and his band|
|Sarah Elizabeth Charles, who is hogging all the first names!|
The opener, "A Misfit's Theme", sets a great tone. I was reading that Smith felt like a "misfit" at Berklee because he didn't feel like he was up on the technical requirements of the college. The lyrics of this piece combined with the haunting F#sus to Fmaj7#11 repeating sadly reminded me of my own feelings of being a misfit. ( If you listen to jazz, you're a misfit. Welcome!)The mysterious nature of this section gives way to a bombastic new progression of Amaj, Abmin 11, Db maj9 and Dmaj9. (Yes, I got out my keyboard and figured out the chords. Don't all jazz writers do that when they review a CD? They don't? Because they can't hear harmony? Oh, my bad.....) Charles really shines on this one.
There' a nice arrangement of Duke Ellington's "Caravan", which is nicely swinging, but has a few surprises; in addition to impressive solos from Smith and Jackson, there is a very sudden loop of 3/4 in the ending melody which becomes a vamp for a drum solo. It's such a surprise that , at first, I was listening to this in my car, and I thought my CD player was busted! "She Move Me" is another strong instrumental track; here, Lee's drumming really reminds me of Eric Harland- a certain crispiness to his snare fills, and a certain precision yet loose interpretation. Smith floats nicely on this one. The latin tinge, and some of the chords, like the brooding F minor, Gb/F on the intro, remind me of Chick Corea(which, like Herbie Hancock, is a tough one to avoid as an influence.) Smith's touch is much darker and lighter than you would expect on a latin tune, but it makes it more pleasant to listen to.