Sean Jones – Eternal Journey
(Mack Avenue – 2004)
by Paula Edelstein
Eternal Journey is a collection of inspired original tunes and standards that features trumpeter Sean Jones leading an all-star quintet that includes Charles Fambrough on bass, Orrin Evans and Mulgrew Miller on piano, Ralph Peterson on drums and Tia Fuller on saxophone and flute. This is Jones’ debut for Mack Avenue Records, one of jazz’s newest labels but certainly one that warrants your attention due to its stellar roster of jazz musicians. As far as trumpeters are concerned, Jones is being compared to Woody Shaw and Freddie Hubbard, but this writer finds more similarities to a young Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis of the 80s, Roy Hargrove and Nicolas Payton because of his subdued fire, modal experiments and ability to caress a melody with taste and creativity.
The set opens with “Gullyism” a hard bop composition that sets the stage for an amazing solo by Jones. Don’t be astonished by his sound since his appetite and knowledge of both classical and jazz trumpet clearly rings through here. “Eternal Journey,” a ballad which features Jones’ superior control of nuance and shading, is the true centerpiece of this recording. This is a lovely song written by Tia Fuller who also offers her sonic influence with an enticing flute solo which only adds another beautiful layer to this gorgeous composition.
Every song on this CD is solid. His duet with Mulgrew Miller on Billy Holiday’s “God Bless The Child” is sensitive, mature and emotionally haunting with its muted expressions. “Searching” is will have you up and out of your seats with its Latinesque influence and “The Very Thought Of You,” will have you falling in love all over again. Overall, Sean Jones and his quintet perform with the competence of jazz veterans and the fervor of newcomers with a zest for a jazz future. You’d be wise to keep an ear open for Sean Jones because he’s definitely providing an innovative jazz architecture that he and other artists can build upon for years to come.