Earl Hines' new quintet, at Charlie's for two weeks, is quite different from the groups he has fronted these last few years. Not that it is surprising that he attracts young players whose musical outlooks incorporate post-swing elements, for, as Duke Ellington once pointed out, "the seeds of bop were in Hines' piano style." Notwithstanding the comparative modernity of his new companions, the core of the opening set last night was basically traditional with standards like "East of the Sun," "When Sonny Gets Blue" and "Prisoner of Love."
Vocalist Buddy Conner touched all bases in a four- or five-song sequence that included ballads, jump tunes and a blues. Reed player Hadley Caliman offered swaggering tenor and, on his own "Gentle Force in My Life," some light and airy flute.
A Wes Montgomery-like octave approach figured prominently in the explosive solos of guitarist Calvin Keys. Raphael Grinage, a backbone bass player, doubled on bowed and plucked cello for a somber Latin-pulsed piece. Drums were manned handily by Eddie Moore, whose feature was a 6/4 shuffling "Cherokee." Laced into the texture of it all was the exemplary piano of "The Fatha," who was enjoying the musicianship of his new associates as much as the audience was.