Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee Quintet

Previous Misconceptions

Mark Small & Walter Smith, III, tenor saxophones; Dan Kaufman, acoustic & Fender Rhodes pianos; Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, acoustic bass; Ferenc Nemeth, drums

Contrast, dialogue, and rhythmic cohesion are concepts central to the success of this new, mainstream quintet session lead by the San Francisco bassist Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee. In seven tracks--six originals and Monk's "Ask Me Now--the emphasis on groove and harmonic precision are indicative of the degree to which this group shares a common artistic vision.  And this is precisely how an acoustic bass should be played: with careful attention to time and intonation.

These performances illustrate what can happen when communication is allowed flourish within an ensemble; there are none of the conflicting agendas that continue to mar certain groups in this region.  Kaufman's interpretation of his original piece, Simplicity, should not be underestimated; rhythmic facility and inventiveness of this sort emerge only in an environment of mutual respect and trust. Thankfully, there is no "star" here who attempts to second-guess these performers, nor squelch their ideas.

This is a first-rate session from an emerging artist.


by James D. Armstrong, Jr.

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