Jazz Album of the Week: John Vanore's Primary Colors

Apr 6, 2020

April 6, 2020. Trumpeter John Vanore’s newest release is not very new at all. It was actually recorded in the mid '80s, with no intention of release. Vanore, and fellow Philadelphian, pianist Ron Thomas, were experimenting with some music from that time. Vanore discovered these tunes on cassette in his basement, and now we have Primary Colors, a chill, yet electric album that touches on the familiar (of 1985).

This duet offering is a shift from what we’re used to from John Vanore; he studied under Oliver Nelson and toured with Woody Herman, and many other big band leaders. He also leads the group Abstract Truth, (a nod to Nelson), that still performs locally.  Although there are less people involved, this music still sounds big due to the instrumentation and dubbing.

“Lady” is a true ‘80s standout. Yes, it's the “Lady” written by Lionel Richie and made famous by the late Kenny Rogers. The duo transforms the tune into an ambient experience that probably would have totally blown people’s minds if it were released at the time of recording. It is followed by a straight-ahead and bouncy version of “Yesterdays,” adding balance to this release.

There is one track that absolutely does not fall into the generally mellow tone of Primary Colors, and that is “Origins of Rude.” This is a serious romp a la Miles Davis on the Cellar Door Sessions. But, as I mentioned before, balance is a factor here. The track is followed by “Return,” a lovely Vanore original, and then a pleasant version of “Secret Love” caps off the record.

Primary Colors takes us on a journey, not only back to the mid-eighties, but through different versions of a certain mood that is established with the first note. Our journey will continue through this Jazz Appreciation Month, as we continue to highlight regional artists who are vital to our jazz community.