Just Passing Thru / Various - Just Passing Thru | RECORD STORE DAY

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It may or may not be a fact that jazz musicians age with grace and class. Perhaps some day we will understand this idea better. But in Miles Donahue's case, the concept certainly bears out. His latest album, coming on the heels of The Bug (Whaling City Sound, 2017), "Just Passing Thru" is large in scope and beautiful in execution. From song to song, there are moments of tenderness, passages of grandeur, and fistfuls of exhilarating, technical wonder. He ventures out on a Celtic limb on "Ireland," swings with verve on "Living Room Blues," and demonstrates subtlety and passion on the opener, "A Man of Few Words." Donahue, who is fluent on trumpet as well as tenor and soprano saxes, chooses notes boldly, exploring the full length of tonal potential. It is a joy to follow his risky explorations, as he makes his way through a labyrinth of unexpected turns. It certainly helps that he has an amazing crew behind him. Joe Santerre provides power grooves on electric bass as does Larry Finn on drums. They are joined by percussionist Ricardo Monzon, keyboard player Alain Mallet, and a handful of tracks featuring guitarist Mike Stern. With a vision that includes Crusaders' style R&B, Weather Report fusion, and lovely, soulful turns, Donahue is masterly here. More than simply "Just Passing Thru," he's making his permanent mark on today's jazz landscape.