Brian Lynch and Emmet Cohen (Duo and Quartet) – Questioned Answer – Hollistic MusicWorks

by Jeff Krow
October 12, 2014
Brian Lynch and Emmet Cohen (Duo and Quartet) – Questioned Answer – Hollistic MusicWorks HMW12, 73:51 [10/28/14] ***½: 

(Brian Lynch – trumpet; Emmet Cohen – piano; Boris Kozlov – bass; Billy Hart – drums)

What greater honor than to study with a noted jazz professor and then to be able to show mastery of your instrument by getting the opportunity to record a CD with your mentor. Such is the case with Emmet Cohen, a graduate of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. Brian Lynch, who has been on the scene for decades as a leading trumpeter (and long time member of Phil Woods Quintet), is now a Professor of Jazz Trumpet at Frost, and began his tenure while Emmet was in his last year of undergraduate studies there. Recognizing Emmet’s talents, Phil began working in a duo setting with Cohen, and voila, a few years later the pair has recorded a CD both as a duo, and adding Boris Kozlov and Billy Hart, to record as a quartet.

Recorded in Sept and October of 2012 in New York City, and mixed by Lynch with mastering at Avatar Studios, this CD was funded as a Kickstarter project. We’re all the richer for its successful funding.

The TrackList is a mix of Lynch or Cohen compositions, with the addition of three standards. “Cambios” opens the CD with the quartet. Immediately apparent are the mature keyboard skills of Cohen, so evident to Lynch, and how he fits in easily with jazz veterans of this stature. Mid-track Kozlov’s fleet fingered bass solo shows why he is the bassist and musical director of the active Mingus Big Band, who play weekly in New York.

“Dark Passenger,” written by Cohen demonstrates his abilities as a composer. Lynch and Cohen play off each other with Billy Hart pushing the pulse. Irving Berlin’s standard, “How Deep is the Ocean” has Lynch’s burnished trumpet blending in concert hall ambiance with Cohen’s swinging exploration of the melody. Brian’s “Buddy” has a polished sheen that the quartet supports. “Distant Hallow” has a repetitive riff by Emmet that the quartet works on and around.

Harry Warren’s “I Wish I Knew” is given a masterful trumpet ballad performance by Lynch with gentle support from Emmet. The longest track, Cohen’s “Petty Theft” is a CD highlight, with an early clarion call from Lynch, Hart’s cymbals demanding attention, while Cohen’s piano lines darting in and around Lynch’s trumpet lead.

The title track closes out the CD, as a feature for Lynch with rapid fire choruses supported by Billy Hart’s intense support. Mid-track, Cohen has several choruses to show that his time with his mentor was well spent.