L.A. Jazz Scene, January 2004

< back to Press

Different Jungles
(Household Ink)

Through multi-tracking, Jeff Elliott creates a whole brass section in order to interpret his collection of original compositions. He’s written pieces that explore various aspects of the jazz world, from close at hand to the other side. While touring with Flora Purim and Airto, he experienced the natural beauty of a jungle first hand. And while touring with Les McCann and Eddie Harris, he realized that jazz has to grow if it’s to survive. Put those two and two together, and you have an eclectic project that serves the fifty-year old trumpeter.

EIliott has added a rhythm section, a saxophonist, and several others to his formula. Each piece paints a different aspect of the music industry and of the world around us. “Denham Blues” soars eloquently along city streets, as the leader’s open horn is supported fiercely by tenor saxophonist Vince Denham, pianist Karen Hammack, bassist Randy Tico and drummer Mike Clark. Each shares the trumpeter’s sincere desire to extend jazz beyond bebop and swing. “Harbor Nights” struts confidently with a funk-driven backbeat, while “The Resurrection of Joey Crown” carries with it a detailed story and treasured memories of the way jazz was depicted on television some forty years ago.

“A Hard Win” contains traces of Miles; “A.D.H.D.” recalls the fire and force of Dizzy; and “Weather Monk” flips along comfortably with bouncing rhythmic and harmonic surprises. From the contemporary scene, Elliott depicts the desert, the ocean, a dance club, and a rainforest. “Jungle River” flows smoothly and evenly through serene landscapes that contain hidden forces, which Elliott communicates convincingly via trumpet, flugelhorn, baritone horn and keyboards. Eddie Harris has left his thumbprint all over Elliott’s score, which has enabled the trumpeter to create a highly recommended project that exhibits the growth of jazz in all directions.

–Jim Santella