There's several examples of those kinds of songs. "Strasbourg/St. Denis" is a bass-driven groover that has a catchy sax/trumpet line. "Style" is also built from the bottom provided by Boller, and is a sophisticated mid-tempo finger-snapper and features a fine piano solo by Clayton. The pretty, loose-limbed "Brown" provides an excellent showcase for Hargrove's muted trumpet.
Lou Marini's "Starmaker," the longest track of this collection, mimics the same underlying rhythmic pattern of Hancock's "Maiden Voyage" along with the solemn horn lines without copying the melody at all. On this cut, Robinson's sax solo packs some passion. "Rouge" is a brief, mostly tempo-free piece that seems to float from one chord to the next.
The Hubbard-styled "The Stinger" is one of the cookers of this batch of songs and whose melody sticks with the listener long after the song is over. Other highlights includes a Cedar Walton song "I'm Not So Sure," which the band attacks with precision and makes the composition simpler than it probably really is. "Speak Low" is perhaps the only of the six non-originals that could be called a standard, but Hargrove's sublime phrasing on his flugelhorn manages to make it sound almost like he owned that song all along.
If for some reason you're still not sure if Hargrove wants the listener to have fun through the first 12 tracks, all doubts are dispelled on the last one. The old Sam Cooke tune "Bring It On Home To Me," was recorded live in Gleisdof, Austria, but the way these cats play it, you'd think they were smack dab in the middle of the New Orleans' French Quarter. A very festive way to end the album.
Just as last May's release of James Carter's Present Tense provided a good sampling of the many facets of Carter's acoustic music, so does Earfood does much the same for fellow "young lion" Roy Hargrove.
Earfood, on the Emarcy/Groovin' High label, became available for sale on July 29.