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Tom Harrell’s “Colors of a Dream” Line-up Garners High DownBeat Poll Rankings.

Joining Ugonna Okegwo, Tom Harrell’s bassist of fourteen years, the “Colors of a Dream” line-up is arguably one of the more potent groups touring today.  While it’s about the music for these artists, not the Critic’s poll,  they garnered impressive rankings from among the “talented multitude” that comprise their professional peers (August 2014 edition of DownBeat magazine).

Particularly noteworthy is the fact that tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffrey and alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, paired in the “Colors of a Dream” line-up, both ranked #1 in the Rising Star categories for their instruments.  Leader Tom Harrell was ranked 5th and 10th in the trumpet and composer categories respectively.  No surprise to those who’ve enjoyed his recent Rochester engagements, Johnathan Blake was ranked seventh in the Rising Star drums category.  A testament to the breathe of her talent, Esperanza Spalding received standout recognition in three categories.

– Tom Harrell: Trumpet – 5th; Composer – 10th;
– Johnathan Blake: Rising Star Drums – 7th;
– Wayne Escoffrey: Rising Star Tenor Sax – 1st;
– Jaleel Shaw: Rising Star Alto Sax – 1st;
– Esperanza Spalding: Rising Star Arranger – 3rd; Female Vocalist – 14th; Bass – 15th

Check out the following review and previews of concerts that are scheduled around the group’s  Exodus To Jazz engagement:

Wondering Sound Review

“…this time he (Tom Harrell) has a crucial catalyst in Esperanza Spalding, who, beside Ugonna Okegwo (replacing pianist Danny Grissett) adds a different pith and texture in the rhythm section. Deploying Spalding’s vocalese like a horn while adding alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw in a front line that includes Wayne Escoffrey on tenor sax and his own trumpet work enables Harrell to approximate the depth and pastel nuances of a big band in his arrangements and voicings.”

Preview: Aug. 21, 2014 – Zipper Concert Hall at Colburn School in Southern California

“Prepare to be amazed as the sextet performs an array of songs from their repertoire…..The songs span the musical spectrum from Latin to swing to funk, with emphasis on rich colors and textures, memorable melodies, deep grooves and polyrhythms played by the two bass players…..Harrell specifically wrote several songs to feature Esperanza Spalding, the prodigious Grammy-winning artist, on vocals and bass…she delivers them with the expertise of a jazz veteran. She has received rousing ovations as she lends her imaginative vocalese and scat singing to ‘Even If,’ while her lyrical and multi-lingual skills are effectively delivered on ‘Velejar,’ a Portuguese version of Harrell’s signature composition ‘Sail Away.’ ” – Paula Edelstein

Preview: Aug. 25, 2014 – World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington, Delaware

“The repertoire of the group ranges from Latin to swing to funk, with emphasis on catchy melodies and driving grooves and polyrhythms played by the two basses. Spalding’s vocal work for this band provides a touch of dreaminess to the musical landscapes.”

Whether you live in downtown Rochester or in the Greater Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester areas,  I encourage you to experience what promises to be a memorable evening of jazz.

Jose DaCosta

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