Andrew Baham Quintet, …And They Called It Love (AFO Records)

Andrew Baham Quintet, And They Calle it Love, AFO Records

When not playing the onstage and studio foil of Sammie Williams in Big Sam’s Funky Nation, trumpeter Andrew Baham has demonstrated his jazz and composing chops in the Next Generation, a terrific band dedicated to playing modern New Orleans jazz. His third record as a leader, …And They Called It Love, stands confidently in that tradition and moves it forward. His compositions on this fine disc jump right out from the piano riff that pushes the opening cut “Simple Attraction” into a searching jazz song that mixes ’70s McCoy Tyner with the propulsive drumming energy of James Black as done by drummer Joe Dyson. Baham’s solo here has great rhythmic drive and takes a couple of harmonic chances as the song ebbs before coming back to Jesse McBride’s ace piano riff. “Park Walk” has a constant, slightly Latin beat that keeps the song relaxed for good solos from both Baham and saxophonist Aaron Fletcher before they play off each other skillfully to end the tune. The second half of the record is the band’s interpretations of two Harold Battiste songs (“All Alone” and “Falling In Love”) and one of Clyde Kerr, Jr.’s (“Treme”). “All Alone” has Baham playing with a rounder tone that is a fine fit for this jazz waltz. “Falling In Love” is a graceful ballad with sensitive playing from the entire ensemble. “Treme” has a parade beat that one would expect with the title and a pretty melody that both the horns harmonize on. In all, …And They Call It Love showcases a tight and mutually sympathetic band with Baham’s playing and compositions clearly and passionately in the lead.