In jazz, there are times when you can judge a book by its covers, and an artist by the musicians he pays tribute to with his own compositions. That?s the case with veteran drummer Jack Mouse?s new album, Range of Motion
, which includes songs written for or dedicated to the great Bunky Green, ?50s innovator John LaPorta, Henry Mancini and Shelley Manne. He also scores points with a dedication to hockey great Bobby Orr, ?Hip Check.?
Recording for the first time under his own name, Mouse leads a topnotch quintet including saxophonist Scott Robinson, whose album Bronze Nemesis I reviewed several weeks back, trumpeter Art Davis, he of the beautiful tone and exceptional touch, and guitarist John McLean, whose charged, textured sound gives the music a post-fusion edge.
A drummer of freewheeling strength who has played with the likes of James Moody and Kenny Burrell, Mouse is an old-school guy. But there?s nothing dated about his songs, which range from the New Orleans-fueled ?Slow Helen? to the infectious tempo-changing ?Mean Streak,? written while he was Bunky Green, to the lovely waltz, ?Prairie Dance.?