Alto saxophonist Hank Crawford, appearing with his quartet at the Ibex, is not one to take a breather at solo's end. Sliding onto piano bench with horn cradled in lap, he rolls out the blues or comps beneath Calvin Newborn's guitar.
Yes, the blues with a feeling is at the heart of this combo, whether they are interpreting, as in last night's opening set, the bop of Charlie Parker or the free jazz of John Coltrane. The Memphis origins of three members of the quartet go a long way toward explaining this bent, and the leader's '60's association with Ray Charles completes the picture.
Crawford's wind filled all vacuums on Sonny Rollins' "Oleo" as notes piled up in a blend of early R&B saxophonic acrobatics and the sonorities and harmonic figurations of contemporary expression. The killing pace maintained on this one by drummer Hugh Walker from Baltimore broke the four-minute mile.
"Mr. T.C." showcased the rending and melancholic guitar of Newborn (Phineas' brother), whose stylistic links are to Parker and Charlie Christian. Electric bassist Charles Green's clean execution and nearly wooden tone set him apart from other players of that instrument.
Crawford will appear at the Ibex through Saturday.