Thomas Heflin

Morning Star

Blue Canoe, 2022

8/10

Listen to Morning Star

The trumpet wizard Thomas Heflin brings his Tennessee roots to these very diverse jazz tunes that welcome a handful of esteemed players to the equation.

After the brief and unpredictable “Radio Intro”, which recruits Mavis ‘Swan’ Poole on vocals and Peter Stoltzman’s keys mixed into Heflin’s well timed trumpet, the title track follows with a pair of soulful saxophones guiding the cozy jazz spirit.

Advancing towards the middle, the playful “Interlude” flows with a rich and romantic mood, while “Haiku” benefits from Steve Haines’ bass and Xavier Ware’s drums for the highly melodic and groove friendly climate. “The Moon Singer”, one of the album’s best, then blends Heflin’s trumpet, Gregory Tardy’s sax and Aaron Matson’s guitar into the dreamy landscape that offers subtle vocals from Ariel Pocock.

Landing near the end, “Anna Breschline” burns slow with acrobatic bass plucking from Haines in the very mature atmosphere, and “Radio Outro” exits the listen with a hint of R&B and neo-soul populating the timeless jazz demeanor.

There’s just one song present that isn’t an original, as Heflin and company place thriving melodies and gospel stabs into their fusion brand of jazz, and it makes for a very charming and infectious listen.

Travels well with: Adam GlaserExcursions; Randal Clark- Imaginary World