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Review: Blues For Hawk, Yves Francois

Blues For Hawk, above all else, is a pleasant stroll through Jazz and Blues classic past. It is hard to describe it as anything but traditional.

Full of rich horns, the album is a nice blend of covers and original Yves Francois songs all delivered with the Chicago improvisational style. According to the liner notes the album was first recorded in the early 80’s but Yves went back and re-recorded the trumpet solos recently.

The album opens with “Lester Leaps In.” A classic by Lester Young and first recorded in the 30’s, the song is upbeat and uplifting. The rhythm stays high and in swing tempo through the next two tracks; “Roll ‘em Pete” and “Comin in Home” both covers.

It only slows down when we get to “Blues For Hawk,” the tile song and original Yves François composition. The trumpet is deep and abounding and the song is expressive.

This pattern follows through the rest of the album, two or three high tempo swing songs followed by a moody and full blues standard. The songs blend nicely and the mood lifts and falls making it a pleasant listening experience.

The Highlight of the album is, “Mecca Flat Blues.” The vocalization on this mostly instrumental album is wonderful. Again it is rooted in tradition and done in the “old style” that I find brilliant.

Franz Jackson, Eddie Johnson and Odie Payne, Jr. are special guests on the CD. Yves, being a fan of the three talented musicians, brought them together for this session. Together, they play these old and new tunes with a classy traditional style.

For those who enjoy the roots of Jazz, expressive horns, and improvisational classics. This album would be a welcome addition to your collection.

Track Listing
1. Lester Leaps In
2. Roll ‘em Pete
3. Comin’ In Home
4. Blues For Hawk
5. Melancholy Baby
6. How Long Blues
7. Tiptoe
8. Kathy
9. Catnip
10. Studio Chatter
11. Mecca Flat Blues
12. Just a feeling
13. Sweet Sue (Just You)
14. Hot Harlem
15. Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams
16. Spider Crawl
17. Hassell Road

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