Arbors Records (www.arborsrecords.com)
Australian jazz musician Adrian Cunningham fronts a prestigious quartet which includes pianist Ted Rosenthal, bassist John Clayton, and drummer Jeff Hamilton. Cunningham is now based in New York City when not touring internationally. Patrons who attended the New Year’s Eve concert by Pensacola Symphony got to hear him when he played with trombonist Wycliffe Gordon’s group.
This CD is a mix of familiar tunes plus some lesser known ones as well as some by Cunningham himself. The artist is equally facile with clarinet, tenor saxophone, and flute.
As stated, familiar tunes include Arlen and Kohler’s “Let’s Fall in Love,” Ellington and Bigard’s “Mood Indigo”, Sidney Bechet’s “Petite Fleur,” along with Benny Powell’s “Tempus Fugit.” There are five Cunningham originals which are also exciting. One unusual tune, unfamiliar to me, was Lu Wencheng’s “Autumn Moon Over the Calm Lake.” This is Chinese composer, Wencheng’s most famous tune. Purists would not put it in the jazz category, but most would agree it is a relaxed, typical Chinese melody and quite lovely.
Thanks go to Arbors Records for their help in presenting Mr. Cunningham to the wider jazz audience. As readers of The Syncopated Times already know, Adrian has a monthly column about jazz and his peripatetic activity.