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Album Review: Tim Hagans' 'The Moon is Waiting'

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Tim Hagans The Moon Is Waiting
Courtesy of Palmetto Records
Trumpeter Tim Hagans’ The Moon is Waiting centers on wide-open, sometimes wild improvisation, with a band composed of guitarist Vic Juris, bassist Rufus Reid, and drummer Jukkis Uotila. Hagans says he is “uncomfortable with making comfortable music” and this is evident in the album’s high-energy playing and strident sounds. However, the recording's success is thanks to the huge range of aesthetic territory covered by the compositions.

Moments of stark beauty are tucked away next to free-for-all group improvisations in which Hagans isn’t afraid to play the full range of sounds on his horn, from warm low notes to squealing upper register sounds reminiscent of Miles Davis’ later albums like Bitch’s Brew.

Comparisons to Davis are easy to make with Tim Hagans. He has a similar taste for a pained lyricism, for never taking a familiar route through an improvisation and for finding band members who share similar, complementary interests. Hagans, however, is interested in a more dynamic approach to both repertoire and to playing. His duet with drummer Uotila on “First Jazz” draws more from John Coltrane than from Davis, as Uotila has a response for every not Hagans’ throws at him. Hagans doesn’t shy from displaying his technical prowess. He has a flexible command of the trumpet’s entire range, and he often makes use of it in its entirety within a single phrase. The music has an athletic element, impressive in the same way as a watching a great feat of strength. It’s the result of a lifetime of pushing his boundaries both musically and physically with his instrument.

The Moon is Waiting has an unrestrained, risk-taking attitude that will appeal to anyone looking for an element of danger in music. A focused listener will be rewarded with a journey through a diverse and intense musical world. For a band playing “uncomfortable music,” the quartet sounds very comfortable with Hagans’ music and aesthetic. The trio is able to play a supportive role, lending a solid foundation to Hagans’ searching melodies, but also to come out of the texture with their own contributions, lending their talents to the band’s explorations. The Moon is Waiting is a wide-ranging album held together by the quartet’s commitment to see every phrase through to its own end, without worrying about any stylistic boundaries.

Release Date:

October 11th, 2011 on Palmetto Records

Personnel:

  • Tim Hagans – Trumpet
  • Vic Juris – Guitar
  • Rufus Reid – Bass
  • Jukkis Uotila - Drums

Track List:

  1. Ornette’s Waking Dream of a Woman
  2. Moon is Waiting
  3. Get Outside
  4. First Jazz
  5. Boo
  6. What I’ll Tell Her Later Tonight
  7. Wailing Trees
  8. Things Happen in a Convertible

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