Chuck Owen & the Jazz Surge return with their strongest and most bold set so far.
Owen is a jazz studies professor at the University of South Florida, but the appeal of “Here We Are’ is anything but academic. This is hard-swinging stuff that draws daringly from several schools of jazz.
Gary Versace’s organ gives “Glib” a nice, greasy tone. The compelling harmonies of “My Foolish Heart” lift Jack Wilkins’ tenor sax solo to new heights. LaRue Nickelson’s guitar and Rob Thomas’ violin add spice throughout.
Speaking of spice, the dics’s two-part closer, “Red Beans & Ricely Yours,” is an invigorating Crescent City romp, a salute to Louis Armstrong that reflects his spirit while retaining the Jazz Surge’s signature sound.