Ron Westray & Thomas Heflin
Reviewed by Jay Trachtenberg, Fri., Sept. 9, 2011
Ron Westray & Thomas HeflinLive From Austin (Blue Canoe)
The opening strains of Ron Westray original "Exile: Remember the Homeless" set the tone for this rousing Elephant Room live recording. Local pianist Peter Stoltzman channels McCoy Tyner's huge chording while the chorus of trombonist Westray, trumpeter Thomas Heflin, and saxophonist Elias Haslanger sounds every bit as formidable as a Jazz Messengers front line. The intensity hardly lets up as Westray spews a torrent of plump, juicy notes as if from an open hydrant and Stoltzman builds waves of towering, Tynerian crescendos. Such are the jewels throughout this set of a half-dozen original tunes. Heflin's quicksilver trumpet runs sparkle on "Mind Over Matter," and local hero Haslanger shows his affinity for Coltrane and boppish tendencies on his compositions "Eternal and Absolute" and "One Hand Clap" respectively. UT assistant professor Westray and graduated doctoral student Heflin have since moved on to bigger scenes, but they've left us with this cogent reminder of their all-too-brief stints in Austin.