Hadley Caliman recorded with the likes of Gerald Wilson, Don Ellis, and Mongo Santamaria in the 1960s and with such folks as Hampton Hawes, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, and a raft of other Jazz and Pop stars, as well as his own groups, in the ?70s. But the 78-year-old tenorist did not make another record until his return to the studio for a CD under his own name in late 2007. Gratitude
was well-received with Straight Ahead
following it a year later.
Caliman has long resided in the Seattle area and his working band boasts some of the region's most highly regarded performers. Indeed, trumpeter Thomas Marriott earned a sterling reputation with Maynard Ferguson's Big Bop Nouveau Band and on the New York scene before returning to the Northwest.
The album is aptly named, as Caliman's repertoire consists of pure, straight-ahead Jazz. It's suggestive of a program out of the sixties, with tunes by, for example, Harold Land and Lee Morgan to complement similar compositions by himself, Marriott, and the vibest Joe Locke. A strong Coltrane influence is evident in the tenorist's playing, especially in the lightning fast runs and scales that permeate his improvisations on medium or up tunes like his own "Cigar Eddie" and Marriott's "Cathlamet." And on ballads like "You Leave Me Breathless," his soulful evocation of Coltrane's high-register-based ballad approach of the latter's Soultrane period is uncanny. As noted, Marriott is a superb soloist in a masterful, Post-Bop style, while pianist Verlinde captures the attention with his own thoughtful improvisations. With the fine rhythm section providing a solid, empathetic foundation, all the pieces fit together quite successfully.