Philadelphia Heritage Art Ensemble plays spirited jazz on “Crossing the Bridge 2”

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Philadelphia Heritage Art Ensemble (PHAE) was started by trumpeter Fred Adams. “Crossing the Bridge 2” is a mix of original and tribute tracks that capture the soul of Philadelphia jazz. “Crossing the Bridge 2” represents the fulfillment of a musical vision.

PHAE has a history that stretches back 23 years. The ensemble is comprised of six musicians. James Stewart on tenor sax; Clifford Adams on trombone; Federico Diaz on guitar; Emilio Teubal on piano; Franco Pinna on drums; Fred Adams on trumpet (he also serves as the composer and bandleader).

For “Crossing the Bridge 2,” PHAE is joined by Fernando Otero on synths on track No. 12; Antonio Boyadjian on synths on track No. 7. In addition, Luke Carlos O’Reilly guests on piano, along with Lee Smith on bass and Craig McIver on drums.

With a full roster of musicians, plus guests, PHAE is poised to continue to make their mark on the world of jazz. The recording has also become a tribute to trombonist, Clifford Adams. The late musician’s work on “Crossing the Bridge 2” marks his last.

“Crossing the Bridge 2” is a spirited recording. The brevity of the album should not detract from the overall quality. With the coverage of tunes by the iconic Lee Morgan and Hank Mobley, along with original songs by Fred Adams, there is a rich history of sound on “Crossing the Bridge 2.” Two examples of fine musicianship on the album are “Soft Touch” and “Dance of Six Senses.”

“Soft Touch” by Philadelphia Heritage Art Ensemble

Originally done by late jazz legend, Lee Morgan, the song appears on Morgan’s posthumous album, “The Procrastinator.” From the opening notes, listeners are filled with anticipation. The tinkling piano and dancing bass set the proverbial stage for the solemn, but spirited horn motif. It is like a high-energy dance done with a straight face. The trumpet here is almost dizzying in the way it wraps around the soundscape. Whether through production or playing modes, the song sounds appropriately low-key. It encourages cool introspection. The bass showcase in the latter half is a nice touch. “Soft Touch” has all the elements of “good” jazz that veteran listeners will appreciate. When the horns play together, something special happens. Any group bringing back the work of the gone-too-soon Morgan deserves a listen.

“The Interlude” by Philadelphia Heritage Art Ensemble

An original by the group, the song takes on the elements of smooth jazz, with aspects of classic jazz. It is an interlude between one of the tribute songs and another original.

The song begins with a gentle crush of piano and brushed drums. The tone of the piece is thoughtful. Surprisingly, the tone of the song seems to have been achieved by the arrangement, and not just the tempo. The tempo is slow, but there is an energy that exudes from the piece. Brightness is achieved when the piano changes its motif. The bass comes a bit forward in the soundscape, and the horns make a concerted statement.

As one of the originals on the album, “The Interlude” stands out because it has an old-school feel and sound. Listeners might mistake the song for a classic, but it is in fact, an original.

Spirited songs that offer audiences the unexpected – – that is what makes “Crossing the Bridge 2” memorable.

“Crossing the Bridge 2” will be available May 3, 2019 on Amazon, CDBaby and iTunes.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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