The label hasn’t just assembled a group of musicians or a big band to recall some of the compositions of Thad Jones, the trumpeter/composer/arranger who was instrumental in establishing the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, famous for its Monday night sessions at the Village Vanguard. Rather, IPO Recordings has persuaded some of the reigning elder statesmen of jazz to pay tribute.... including Hank Jones, Thad’s brother. The label hasn’t just replayed some of Jones’ charts by today’s jazz musicians, including perhaps those in the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. Rather, IPO Recordings has retained arranger Mike Patterson to rework Jones’ music for the octet consisting of musicians who have worked with Jones. And the label hasn’t just included Jones’ obvious compositions, such as "A Child Is Born" (although it supremely resides in this recording as well). Rather, IPO Recordings has gone back to, for example, "Thad’s Pad," which hasn’t been performed since 1953, when Hank Jones, Johnny Smith and Ray Brown recorded. Or.... Jimmy Owens once more has the opportunity to play the song that Jones wrote for him, "Consummation," even though Owens never was able to record with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra when he was a member.
Besides Owens’ lyrical work and gorgeous sound on "Consummation," One More is overflowing with some inimitable playing, and one is struck by the fact that each of these bordering-on-legendary musicians has developed a distinctive voice on their instruments. Take "One More," for instance. Even though the tune evolves into a friendly tenor sax jousting (you couldn’t really call it a "battle"), immediately Golson, Moody or Wess can be identified by their personalized tones and means of improvisation. While some of the compositions like "One More" consist merely of blues changes, "Subtle Rebuttal," animated by Mickey Roker’s brushwork and Richard Davis’ responding bass lines, is ingeniously written as Jones has the saxes and muted trumpets toss sections of the melody back and forth on chord changes resembling "That Old Black Magic."
When Sir Roland Hanna was a member of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, he usually introduced "A Child Is Born" with a long, thoughtfully, classically derived solo before the orchestra came in. Fortunately, IPO Recordings released Hanna’s last recordings. So, the introduction to "A Child Is Born" on One More comes from Hanna’s performance on Tributaries - Reflections on Tommy Flanagan before, once again, the band comes in, Hank Jones taking Hanna’s place after the introduction. And Hank Jones himself performs the brief final tribute to his brother, "Monk’s Mood," which Thelonious Monk taught him note for note and which was one of Thad’s favorite songs.
Once again, IPO Recordings has released one of the top recordings of the year. One More is without reservation a superlative recording by masters of the genre who recall with fondness the music of their friend.