08 Cory WeedsHome Cookin’
Cory Weeds with little big band accompaniment
Cellar Music CMR120522 (cellarlive.com)

The latest offing from master tenorist/producer/record label director Cory Weeds is unequivocally loaded with delight. For this new expression of joy, Weeds has formed an ensemble comprised of many of the top, Vancouver-based jazz players. The material here is powerful, featuring compositions by Horace Silver, Weeds, Michael Weiss and Thad Jones, as well as a superb re-tooling of Oliver Nelson’s original arrangement of the classic Lullaby of the Leaves.  Bill Coon and Jill Thompson are the brilliant arrangers/producers of the majority of the material here, with a pumpitudinous arrangement of Weiss’ Power Station by Weiss himself.

The opening salvo and title track, Home Cookin’ (a Silver composition) gets going with a bass intro, followed by synchronous brass and rhythm section work. The track bobs and swings in all of the right places, replete with a fine solo from Weeds. Next up is Corner Kisses – a Weeds original – it’s loaded with energetic bop and penned as a celebration of his beautiful, amazing wife. Weeds and his horn take off into the stratosphere here, along with pianist Chris Gestrin, trumpeter Brad Turner and drummer Jesse Cahill. Blossoms in May, is another Weeds original, and on this track, the art of the ballad is not only explored, but manifested.  Weeds’ warm, languid tone is a balm for whatever ails you, and the ensemble plays together as a one-celled organism.

Standouts include Jones’ Thedia – John Lee’s bass solo is brief but potent and the band just kills it at every opportunity – and the above mentioned Lullaby of the Leaves, adapted and transcribed by Fred Stride. Pianist Gestrin digs in, really getting into the chordal meat. Weeds is nothing short of exceptional here, and remains a guiding light in jazz. Bravo!

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