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Hero Worship - Hal Crook, Ram


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Hal Crook's gimmick (though he'd probably bristle at hearing it called that) is that he plays his trombone through a five-voice digital harmonizer, enabling him to play polyphonically. On this recording, he's accompanied by guitarist Mick Goodrick and drummer Paul Motian, and the music is consistently interesting, if not consistently rewarding. The problem with computer-generated harmony is that the intervals don't change from major to minor according to their place in the tonal structure of the piece; all harmonic movement in the chords is strictly parallel, which makes for an eerie, astringent sound. This works well on the more "out" pieces, such as the jagged but attractive "Hero Worship," but it's a sound that wears thin on the more straight-ahead numbers. In fact, Crook is at his best when playing the trombone unaltered, as he does here on a lovely and affecting version of "My Funny Valentine." The accompaniment is excellent throughout, especially Paul Motian's subtle and almost telepathic drumming. "
     --  Rick Anderson (AllMusic)

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