Tom Burns is a music lover, not an attention seeker. For years, he's quietly been issuing jazz discs from his Bailey headquarters on a pair of imprints, Capri and Tapestry. The recordings vary in quality and adventurousness from release to release, but as In the Pocket and Dreams Untold demonstrate, they're made with love and offer an important and increasingly rare opportunity for local players to press their visions into plastic.
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Trombonist John Hines scores a songwriting credit on just two of Pocket's nine tracks, with the others drawn from tunesmiths such as Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. Nonetheless, he and his comrades, including keyboardist Michael Pagan, drummer Rob Ward, bassist Mike Williams and gifted trumpeter/flugelhornist Hugh Ragin, come up with an intriguing arrangement for the Rodgers & Hart standard "I Could Write a Book" and wring poignancy from "More Than a Friend," a Pagan composition. Dreams, for its part, marks the impressive debut of drummer Stranahan, a student at the Denver School of the Arts who cut the disc at age seventeen. Able assistance is provided by the likes of tenor saxophonist Michael Bailey and bassist Ken Walker, with a couple of cameos from trumpeter Ron Miles. But Stranahan makes his presence felt, swinging mightily on self-penned ditties such as the energetic "Now I'm Up" and "Romaine's Groove," dedicated to longtime local Paul Romaine.
Hines and Stranahan both deserve to be heard. Kudos to Burns for giving them the chance.