typical attitude among young students is that school wastes a lot of time
teaching things they have no use for in life – like trigonometry. Eddie
Mendenhall sees things differently, adopting a mathematical term as the
title to his debut release: Cosine Meets Tangent (Miles High
Records, 2011). The cover is a composite of a photograph of Mendenhall at
a piano, a hillside and partly cloudy sky in the background, accented by
Mendenhall directs the jazz department at the Monterey Peninsula College,
and is an instructor at the Monterey Jazz Festival Summer Jazz Camp. His
quartet includes vibraphonist Mark Sherman, bassist John Schifflett and
drummer Akira Tana.
“Protocol” sets things off in lively fashion. Sherman carries much of the
lead, at times melding with Mendenhall. Though a new song, the mood is
like something out of a Lionel Hampton playbook. Sherman takes off and
doesn’t look over his shoulder.
“Blues for Yokohama” is another piece done in the same style, though with
a bit more flair. Mendenhall is more prominent than on the earlier piece.
Drums and bass are also more involved, with the former going it alone for
Mendenhall composed all but two tracks, “The Great Triplet” by Sherman,
and “So Easy to Remember” by Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart. The set makes
Cosine Meets Tangent a fine piece that offers good listening and
may make you want to get up and dance.