By Jean TimmonsSteve Haines is a young bass player whose background speaks loudly about the music on his second cd release. Haines is director of the Miles Davis Program in Jazz Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, which is among other academic endeavors. In the jazz performance arena, Haines has played or recorded with such musicians as Jason Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Peter Erskine and Chad Eby. Joining him as featured artist on this recording is Jimmy Cobb, the only surviving member of the Miles Davis quintet on the landmark Kind of Blue album. It follows, then, that the music on this recording is of the straight-ahead, hard bop variety.
For Stickadiboom, Haines is on double bass, Rob Smith on trumpet and soprano saxophone, David Lown on tenor saxophone, Chip Crawford, piano, and Thomas Taylor on drums, when Cobb isn’t at the wheel. Taylor, a UNC graduate, is the regular drummer of the quintet. (All members of the quintet are college-trained musicians.) On this recording, he performs on the first track, “Freightrain.” All pieces were composed by Haines, except for a Cobb composition (“Composition 101”). As leader, Haines is very supportive. Throughout, the bass takes the fewest solos but is notably part of the music, nevertheless. Of all the composition, the one most identifiably written for the bass is “Re: Frayne.” In this piece, the bass and piano enter into a duet, off which the bass leads and simply sings. It’s quite lovely. The bass steps up, too, for Cobb’s “Comp 101” and pushes the romanticism of “Prospect Park,” with its nice allusions to “Sweet Lorraine.”
And what’s hard bop? You probably guessed “Stickadiboom,” which is made for a drummer and this one introduces Jimmy Cobb. “Sutak 9-1-1” is a driver, fast time but cool with a trumpet that sounds more Freddie than Miles. Overall it’s a balanced cd, in terms of moods, tempos, and musical ideas. Nice work.