Album Reviews

Joel LaRue Smith

The Motorman's Son

Artist:     Joel LaRue Smith

Album:     The Motorman's Son

Label:     Self Released

Release Date:     03/01/2017

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By creatively shifting time, tone, and tenor, landing finally with a Latin elasticity and rhythmic tide “The Seed,” pianist Joel LaRue Smith’s bold first track from The Motorman’s Son, powerfully penetrates the crowded headspace and airwaves we seem to occupy more and more of late, blowing away the noise with a fresh, new gust.

His father was a NYC subway motorman, so you’re going to hear fiery big horns and tight, free-flowing arrangements on this train. Even if you’re getting off at the next station, imagine the lives and the worlds you’ve encountered in that amount of time. LaRue Smith not only imagines it, he shapes and defines it energetically, seemingly at will. There’s no wrong station

on LaRue Smith’s line, so the title track, the contemplative “The Promise” and a vivid take on Dizzy’s “Manteca” keep this train rolling.

—Mike Jurkovic

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