By Jeff Potter | Published December 2019
Plenty of rising bands plant their flags firmly in the foundations of hard-bop. Some slavishly mimic classic sounds, while others make the alternate mistake of going out of their way to interject jarring modern elements in order to prove forward thinking. Trumpeter Quentin Collins and company happily have found a sagacious balance on a disc that’s intended to depict the Road Warrior life of itinerant jazz musicians. That spirit is undeniable in the ensemble’s rousing, optimistic energy.
A significant presence on the U.K. scene, Collins also has worked with artists like Gregory Porter and Alicia Keys, and maintains a lasting membership in Kyle Eastwood’s band. It’s clear why he’s in demand: Collins hits his marks with flair while avoiding overstatement. Commanding the urgency of Lee Morgan-like muscle and concise chops, Collins’ fully realized solo concepts are fueled by a full tone from top to bottom. Favoring upbeat melodicism with a strong rhythmic bent—as exemplified on the title track—Collins’ catchy compositions are glorified by the powerful, yet never blaring, frontline. Many miles have taught these warriors well.
Road Warrior: Road Warrior; Float, Flitter; Flutter; Do You Know The Way?; Look Ahead (What Do You See?); Jasmine Breeze; The Hill; El Farolito; Wider Horizons; Oh! Look At Me Now. (55:01)
Personnel: Quentin Collins, trumpet, flugelhorn; Meilana Gillard, alto saxophone; Leo Richardson, Jean Toussaint (5, 7), tenor saxophone; Dan Nimmer, piano, Rhodes; Joe Sanders, bass; Willie Jones III, drums.