Bruce Hornsby refuses to be counted among the pop stars trying on jazz for size. “I can see why someone may want to make an album that goes down easy and why a record company would want to put it out because it’s a quick way to make a sale,” says Hornsby, who makes his all-instrumental jazz debut with “Camp Meeting,” due this week via Legacy.
“But my record is just the opposite. I have two of the most in-demand jazz artists, Christian McBride on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums, playing with me, and we go into plenty of dissonant, stark, angular sonic places,” he continues. “This is not casual jazz playing; it’s been something I’ve been wanting to do for years.”
The refresher shows, as Hornsby not only demonstrates his jazz prowess on “Camp Meeting,” but also conjures up that rare alchemy with his rhythm team as they contemporize tunes by Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Thelonious Monk (a reharmonized, rumba-flavored “Straight, No Chaser”) and Bud Powell (including a hip-hop-spiced take on “Celia”).
In addition to Hornsby originals, there’s also a never-released Ornette Coleman track, “Questions and Answers,” that the iconoclastic saxophonist played for him years ago.