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  • Jonathan Widran

LARRY NEWCOMB QUARTET, Love, Dad

There are two key takeaways from the empowering, hard swinging and deeply bluesy experience of listening to Love, Dad, the third album by the Larry Newcomb Quintet. Considering that the famed jazz guitarist traded crazy cool fours on his previous quarter set Living Tribute with recently departed legend Bucky Pizzarelli (in one of his last recorded performances), it’s a bold statement but necessary to relate that this uber-eclectic current set – featuring the brilliant timing, melodicism and imaginative soloing of Newcomb’s bassist son Jake Newcomb – transcends the previous still great album in stylistic scope, full on energy and compelling emotional hugs and caresses.

Thanks to the engaging liner notes from Bill Milkowski, the other important to note item is that the title of the dynamically produced 10 track collection = and its sultry, sensual bossa-tinged namesake song – comes from a standard losing Newcomb includes on all the texts he writes to his three sons. As the set romps from an amiable, soulfully swinging, solo showcase filled “You Stepped Out of a Dream” through a happy go lucky frolic through Jerome Kern’s “The Song is You,”


Newcomb is at his snappy, fluid and blues-hearted best, pianist Thomas Royal chimes in with fast swinging harmony lines and glitter explosion solos and drummer Dave Marsh keeps things steady but off the charts when the mood strikes. Yet our focus stays throughout on the gifts bestowed by Jake, not simply when he’s contributing imaginative solo bars and keeping the funky yet intricate jazz meters hopping, but also on his showcase track, the Oscar Pettiford 50’s bebopper “Tricotism.”


Over an intentionally sparse arrangement featuring Marsh’s light brushes and Larry Newcomb’s snazzy fingerstyle pluck, Jake Newcomb carries the melodic/emotional weight of the tune (up till the solo parts) with singular excitement and vitality. Milkowski tells us that when Jake was middle school age, he told his dad he wanted to play guitar. Larry Newcomb said, “That’s cool, but why don’t you pick up the bass? You’ll always have a gig.” It’s our great luck that the youngster learned it, stuck with it and can blow us away with what can happen when sheer talent and the love of a wonderful dad join forces.