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Sleep Won't Come by John McNeil

Trumpeter John McNeil’s second effort for OmniTone Records presents an intimate musical sojourn, framed upon a sleepless evening. For example, he brandishes a Miles Davis-like gait via dark, muted trumpet lines on the opener and title track, "Sleep Won’t Come." But the caffeine kicks in on the following piece "The Other World," featuring the pianist Jeff Jenkins and bassist Kent McLagan’s bustling rhythmic exercises.

McNeil renders anthem style choruses amid vocal-like phrasings to complement a robust tone, awash with razor sharp lines. The band seldom fails to sustain interest throughout this multifaceted program. Jenkins uses a prepared piano in spots as the trio ventures into playful, avant-garde territory on occasion, where the musicians perhaps emulate nightmarish dreams. However, a good portion of McNeil’s compositions are founded upon memorable melodies and bop-ish grooves. And at times, the music emits a sense of three musicians working out new material in the wee hours of the morning. Yet the moral of this story correlates to the execution of one’s creative powers - where one's psyche races with imaginative notions, causing a sleep prohibitive situation. (Recommended listening!)

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: John McNeil
  • CD Title: Sleep Won't Come
  • Genre: Ambient Jazz
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: OmniTone
  • Musicians: J. McN.: trumpet; Jeff Jenkins: piano, prepared piano; Kent McLagan: bass.
  • Rating: Four Stars
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