Tom Harrell, Trip (HighNote)
A dozen compositions by trumpeter Harrell provide a framework for variety and surprise in this recording by the pianoless quartet he calls Trip. The centerpiece, “The Adventures of a Quixotic Character,” is a six-part suite inspired by Miguel de Cervantes’ 15th century novel Don Quixote. Harrell’s solo on “The Ingenious Gentleman” is a highlight among highlights. If some of the tracks summon thoughts of Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker, it may be more than a coincidence of instrumentation. Growing up in Los Angeles, the eight-year-old Harrell began playing trumpet during the heyday of west coast jazz. For all of their harmonic sophistication and up-to-the-minute hipness, the album’s tracks often evoke the relaxation and complexity of the Mulligan quartet. Throughout, tenor saxophonist Mark Turner’s ear-catching work is on a par with Harrell’s. Ogonna Okegwo is the bassist, Adam Cruz the incisive drummer.