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Review - Thomas Conrad / Tempest /
On Armand Boatman’s Bebop Revolution


Pianist Armand Boatman’s quintet (all first-call jazz players in Phoenix, Ariz.) celebrates bebop and its immediate aftermath as an ongoing revolution. Not many bands these days play Hank Mobley tunes like “This I Dig of You” and “Funk in a Deep Freeze.” Boatman’s ensemble eats this stuff for lunch—with passion, polish and flair.

The fact that they have internalized the bop language is illustrated by their own historically hip compositions (trumpeter Fred Forney’s “Intentionality,” Boatman’s “Fred’s Ahead”), which fit into a program of pieces by Mobley, Lanny Morgan and Miles Davis perfectly. The rhythm section (with bassist Dwight Kilian and drummer Dom Moio) plays with snap and fire, and the horns are the real deal. Forney has speed, exact articulation, a classic bright sound and his own ideas. On “Blue in Green,” he plays muted, in homage to the Miles paradigm. But his solo and Boatman’s arrangement are personal and fresh.

On the two Mobley tunes, tenor saxophonist Jerry Donato references Mobley’s oblique, offhand tenor style. But Donato abandons all irony on his feature, “The Nearness of You,” which is a lingering caress."

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