Musicians: Noah Haidu (piano), Jeremy Pelt (trumpet), Jon Irabagon (alto saxophone), Chris Haney (bass), John Davis (drums 2, 4, 5, 7, 8), Willie Jones III (drums 1, 3, 6)
Review: Pianist Noah Haidu composes and plays with a genuine approach to blending the sounds of hard-bop, soul and Latin-tinged jazz. Slipstream, his debut release for Posi-Tone records, effortlessly melds varying styles into an accessible mix of sleek melodic themes and contagious rhythms. Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon make up the front-line of the quintet, capturing seven of Haidu’s original pieces and a swinging piano trio version of Cole Porter’s “Just One of Those Things.”Haidu demonstrates an abundance of chops, at times harkening the fluidity of Chick Corea and the rhythmic incessancy of Horace Silver. His solo lines on the simmering title track and the buoyant waltz of “Floating” are indicators of a pianist with a firm grasp of the instrument’s history, especially that of the last half of the 20th century. A light touch, full of intensity, can be felt on the mellow, R & B-flavored “Take Your Time.”
The wild ride of “Break Tune,” traversing the landscape of funk and free-jazz, features inspired blowing from Pelt and Irabagon, who trade back forth with heightened awareness. Other disc highlights include the radio friendly groove and catchy melody of “Soulstep” and the closing “The Trouble Makers,” featuring the hard driving swinging pulse of drummer John Davis and bassist Chris Haney.
Slipstream is a welcome addition to the Posi-Tone catalogue. With the right combination of first-rate players and above-average material, Haidu has the potential for widespread appeal.