Gifted trumpeter, composer and educator, Pharez Whitted wastes no time establishing a strong melodic hook for the tunes. On soulful swingers like “The Truth Seeker,” a go-getter that sets a high bar for modern swing, Whitted launches a deep front-line groove with saxophonist Eddie Bayard and augments it with the swirling, soulful keyboards of Ron Perillo, supple bassist Dennis Carroll and the solid drummer, Greg Artry – cream-of-the-crop players on the mid-west jazz scene. The best-known musician and a co-star of sorts on the record is guitarist Bobby Broom who plays in his deeply satisfying Chicago blues style, and he’s the keystone on this great-sounding recording of contemporary bop.
Freddie Hubbard may be an obvious influence, but Whitted has a sleek, rounded tone that is uniquely his and it dazzles through a combination of virtuosity and technique, evident on the Art Blakey-ish “Brother Thomas” and the chill-out title tune (with its fat electric piano chords courtesy of Perillo). Listening to him play the sunny ballad, “Until Tomorrow Comes” or the upbeat “Our Man Barack” – there’s not a weak number in the bunch -- I’m convinced that Pharez Whitted can be included on the short list of first rate Chicago jazzers like Von Freeman, pianist Lawrence Hobgood and singers Kurt Elling and Patricia Barber, and not only because this recording has been a fixture on my home system and car for past three months. I could hear Whitted’s greatness on the first spin of this fine CD. (11 tracks; 71:11 minutes) www.owlstudios.com
Labels: Bobby Broom, Owl Studios, Pharez Whitted