Review by J Hunter
THE ARCH STANTON QUARTET
Along for the Ride
You don’t have to re-invent the wheel to do something distinctive in jazz. Instead of emulating Ornette Coleman and blowing the model to smithereens, you can follow Thelonious Monk’s example of adding one variable that separates your work from everybody else’s. The Arch Stanton Quartet has a pretty stock instrumental format, and they play pretty standard forms of jazz. But it’s not what they do that makes Along for the Ride a great debut recording – it’s how they do it!
Things start off quite normally, with an opening title track that’s your basic post-bop head-nodder. Composer Terry Gordon’s trumpet leads the charge with notes that are clear, bright and full of purpose, and the band keeps it skin-tight as Gordon displays the power we’ve all come to expect from him. There’s no piano in the ASQ, so there’s no natural “softener” to act as Gordon’s foil. If guitarist Roger Noyes played in the Wes Montgomery/Pat Martino mode, he could pick up the role, but that’s not Noyes’ style: Even though his solo conforms to the Montgomery form, Noyes’ sound has a pack of Rottweilers living inside it, with sharp teeth and Rebar-strength muscle. So while the composition doesn’t stray far from the norm, the performance lets you know that things are going to be different around here.