From the faux chic cover and the name “the Jazz Underground” I expected this either to be another tired smooth jazz / funk record, or an exploration of today’s avant-garde. It is neither. Instead, this is mainstream jazz played with energy and verve.
The Jazz Underground is not a group, but an interlocking series of groups who performed these tracks at Smalls in New York City between July 3 and 6, 1997.
The purpose of this disc seems to be to show what great music relative unknowns are making in New York City these days. Well, it IS great music. One may hope that these groups will get many more chances to document what they’re doing at Smalls and elsewhere.