Elliott Caine Sextet - Hippie Chicks on Acid
One look at those classic Reid Miles designed album covers adorning countless Blue Note records of the 50s and 60s and it’s generally assumed that those guys were hopped up on Chesterfields and more than a few pulls off a cheap pint of whiskey. Nonetheless local trumpeter Elliott Caine has summoned the hard-bop gods with his propulsive sextet and saddled them with a title and cover evoking some rather horrible flower power imagery. Recorded live at Alva’s Showroom in San Pedro, Caine leads his band through over a half dozen straight-ahead swingers aided by great local instrumentalists like vibist Nick Mancini who pummels each note with his lightning-quick mallets, particularly on the simmering “No Way Out” and spacious “Little Rio”, while saxophonist Carl Randall provides a raspy-toned boast over driving waltz “Paying the Price”. Caine, who has been tearing up southern California stages for decades, displays his refined sense of swing and grounded writing skills throughout the record with articulate Lee Morgan-esque passages over the disjointed harmonies of “Defiance” and crisp ballad work on the deliberate “A Different Beauty”. Caine’s sextet has recorded a confident set of hard-bop, highlighting a great venue and some of the more captivating sidemen in town but, seriously, who chose that cover?