When we reviewed Hadley Caliman's return to the leadership role on Gratitude
, back in 2008, we welcomed back a long-neglected artist, who had settled in Seattle, content to play in local Northwest settings. Gratitude
opened some eyes to a saxophonist who still had full range and power well into his 70s. Hadley had been a great sidemen for both major jazz artists back in the 1970s and contributed as well to rock groups like Santana, before he headed for the Northwest.
It is a pleasure to see that Seattle based Origin Records continues to back Caliman in his resurgence as a band leader. Matching Hadley with fellow Origin roster member, trumpeter, Thomas Marriott, was a savvy move as the two blend well on Harold Land's Rapture
, as well as on Caliman's own, Cigar Eddie
. Hadley states in his liner notes that the tracks on Straight Ahead are those that this band play in their local gigs. That is so evident on this recording as in the ease that Hadley's group share both solos and ensemble passages. It shows a quintet that has strong camaraderie.You Leave Me Breathless
has an early Coltrane flavor and Eric Verlinde makes a strong contribution. Cathlamet
, written by Marriott, honors the charming Washington town, where Caliman spent twenty years of his life raising a family and commuting to the Cornish College of Arts in Seattle, where he was on the music faculty.Lush Life
, by Billy Strayhorn, and also made famous by Coltrane, provides Hadley with the opportunity to show his lyrical side. It is followed by one of Lee Morgan's less-well-known compositions, Totem Pole
. I especially enjoyed Matt Jorgensen's cymbal work here and Verlinde shines on his piano solo.Straight Ahead
closes with The Night Has a Thousand Eyes
, where Hadley and Company breathe life back into this well known number. Damn it's good to have Hadley Caliman still with us and doing both Seattle and Origin Records proud. Here is hoping for more as we await Hadley's next issue. The third time will add to the charm.