CD Reviews - May 2009
by George Fendel, and Kyle
by George Fendel
A note from George:
In the last 30 days or so, no less than six CDs have been
released by Portland-based jazz musicians. Each is quite distinct
musically, and I might add, quite good. All are worthy of your
consideration, so letís start this month’s reviews with
six PDX winners.
Night, Bridge Quartet.
I don’t know if the use of the word Bridge in this group’s
name is a reference to Portland’s numerous Willamette River
crossings or, perhaps, a suggestion that this is music to reach to
reach out to anyone willing to listen. Perhaps both concepts might be
fitting. Three quarters of this quartet are resident Portlanders:
Darrell Grant, piano; Tom Wakeling, bass; and Alan Jones, drums. The
fourth is tenor saxophonist Phil Dwyer, who makes frequent forays from
his home base in Canada for the purpose of playing with his Puddletown
pals. This engaging set was performed live at what was then called
LV’s Uptown. Kudos to Origin Records for putting this one out
there because the six selections heard here average nearly twelve
minutes per. The set concentrates on familiar tunes like
“Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” and “Green Dolphin
Street.” Rounding out the program are “Strode Road,”
a near-standard by Sonny Rollins; and a rarely heard Victor Feldman
piece, “A Face Like Yours.” Dwyer can get a little edgy now
and then, sometimes sounding like a tenor version of late Art Pepper.
But for the most part, you can really hang your hat on an invigorating
performance from a contemporary group somehow in the middle of the jazz
Origin, 2009, 71:45.
Good Morning, Geek, Portland Jazz Orchestra.
I must admit to a little jealousy in times past when I’d spot a
big band jazz album from other locales. Certainly Portland had more
than enough talent for such an aggregation, but it took Portland
State’s Charley Gray to get the job done. Gray, Director of Jazz
Studies at PSU, put this incredible organization together a few years
back, along with co-leader and trombonist Lars Campbell. Life in
Portland is better for their having done so. Gray composed all the
material here, and he’s one of the few with that knack for
composing for big jazz bands. You know the type I mean … Thad
Jones-Mel Lewis, Bill Holman, the Westchester Jazz Orchestra, John
Fedchock’s New York cats, the Seattle Jazz Repertory Orchestra,
Clayton-Hamilton, etc. These guys take a back seat to nobody. The
writing is spot on perfect for these 18 players, and it’s all
loosely formed enough to allow for electrifying solo work. To use an
old but fitting expression, this band cooks. I can just imagine these
brilliant players in live performance. I know I’d be roaring my
approval, and begging for an encore or two.
Music To Watch Girls By, Quadraphones Saxophone Quartet.
This is music so interesting to listen to that I thought I’d just
record my reactions rather than write a standard review. So, here
we go: flawless individual musicianship; a contemporary trip on
Strayhorn’s “A Train”; intricate writing for multiple
saxophones; no hesitation to try ‘the groove’; a
dependable journey to “Georgia”; capturing the classical
framework of music by Phillip Glass; reinventing an oldie on the title
tune; a fresh, new look at a guy named Monk; interesting
interpretations of odd and challenging time signatures; it’s
always okay to play pretty; look for the unusual, and fly with it;
understand the timelessness of your music and make it SING. Nice going,
Self-produced, 2009; 52:55.
Ukiah’s Lullaby, Anson Wright, guitar, Tim Gilson, bass.
Put this CD into your player, and I guarantee it won’t take long
to conclude that these two players are cut from the same cloth. Two
guys meant to work their magic together. You’ll notice first that
Wright and Gilson seem to agree that pretty, lyrical and melodic never
go out of style. And that’s how they approach these ten
originals. They certainly share an affection for a warm, inclusive sort
of sound from their respective instruments, and the fact that
they’ve worked numerous gigs together creates the beautiful
togetherness so easy to hear. While this music is not for absolutely
everybody (you’re not going to bop til you drop), it is music to
be somehow absorbed rather than simply listened to. One comes away from
their shared ideas and musical mesmerism with an appreciation of the
delicacy of the duo. Both guys have to be at the top of their game,
because there’s no place to hide. On these ten recital-quality
studies of two cats deep in the shed, it all works to perfection.
Saphu Records. 2009, 61:29.
Local Heroes/American Originals: Jazz Stories by Lynn Darroch, writer, narrator
Well, maybe this is where the politics come in! If one is going to
write a review of a disc made by the boss, one would hope that
it’s good. Thankfully, this one is good, real good. And
it’s the work of our Jazzscene editor. Darroch is a longtime jazz
writer for the Oregonian, and easily the best one in their stable. For
this, Lynn’s third spoken word CD, he’s employed the
talents of Randy Porter on piano and David Evans on tenor sax. These
dedicated musicians add both a marvelous musical dimension and a grad
sense of jazz history to the recitations. To be sure, this is a
different way to experience the stories and challenges that are common
to all jazz musicians. Darroch’s delivery really pulls you in,
making you want to hear what happens next. My favorite piece is the
extended story of Betty Carter, which Darroch divides into several
sections, each of which features a distinct musical backing from Porter
and Evans. Other jazz heroes include Chet Baker, Clare Fischer, and two
local heroes, Warren Bracken and Jim Pepper. This is NOT jazz history
class, but rather an entertaining opportunity to pick up on an
altogether delightful, new jazz journey. And with Porter and Evans on
board, this is Darroch’s best effort yet. For more info, http://lynndarroch.com
Self-produced, 2009, 66:49.
South Pacific, Harry Allen, tenor sax, Joe Cohn, guitar, Rebecca Kilgore, vocals.
Okay, so I stretched a bit in identifying this as a Portland product,
but Rebecca Kilgore plays a prominent role as featured vocalist on no
less than seven selections. As a matter of fact, this marks the
second musical theater CD that Becky has participated in for Arbors
Records. Many of you will remember her delightful work on “Guys
And Dolls” from 2007. Once again, she shares the vocal chores
with Eddie Erickson, singer and guitarist, and a frequent band mate of
Kilgore’s. (Eddie’s new CD is reviewed below.) One is
reminded of just how many hits Rodgers and Hammerstein cranked out in
just ONE show. This time around, the hits include “A Cock-Eyed
Optimist,” “Younger Than Springtime,”
“I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Out of my Hair,”
“There Is Nothin’ Like a Dame,” “A Wonderful
Guy,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “This Nearly
Was Mine” and “Bali Hai.” Harry Allen alternately
swings with authority or plays the ballads with great tenderness. And
Joe Cohn’s guitar is the perfect compliment. There’s still
room in my world for feel good music. In fact, in the midst of our
topsy-turvy world, this sort of record is a welcome tonic.
Arbors, 2009, 75:54.
Return Of The Lineup, One For All: a hard bop sextet.
If you’re attracted to the New York hard bop style, the
disciples, if you will, of Blue Note’s glory days, then this is
the group for you. It’s almost as if each of these players may
have won the Gotham blue ribbon for his dominance in this genre. Most
of the melodies are not familiar. But keep in mind, if you will, that
the titles and tempos heard here are simply a springboard to some curl
your hair musicianship. And just who are these blue ribbon players,
each a monster in his own right? Well, the front line guys are Eric
Alexander, tenor sax; Jim Rotondi, trumpet and flugelhorn; Steve Davis,
trombone; and a rhythm section which will cause you to ask, where do we
apply the bandages? How about David Hazeltine, John Webber and Joe
Farnsworth? Listen and you’ll understand, that to reach this
level in the jazz high rise, THIS is how you have to play.
There’s no other way.
Sharp Nine, 2009, 54:27.
New Time, New ‘Tet, Benny Golson, tenor saxophone.
Times change, styles change, and Lord knows, music today bears no
resemblance to what you and I define as music. But here’s Benny
Golson, now 80, and believe me, Benny’s in no time warp. His
music was timeless then and it’s timeless now. The early 1960s
was a watershed period for jazz, and Golson co-led the Jazztet with Art
Farmer. Hence the title of this CD. Benny joins forces here with some
of the high steppers on the Apple terrain in Eddie Henderson, trumpet
and flugelhorn; Steve Davis, trombone; Mike LeDonne, piano; Buster
Williams, bass; and Carl Allen, drums. Just as Golson’s Jazztet
of the Sixties still sounds great, fresh and powerful today, this group
strongly meets that standard. Typical of his approach, the tunes are
neatly divided between highly lyrical originals and etched in stone
winners like “Airegin” and “Epistrophy.”
There’s a Golson sound to both his thick, Mrs. Butterworth tenor,
but also to his compositions. It’s got the Golson stamp if
there’s a brisk, attractive melody line; if it’s made to be
improvised upon; and always, if it’s just too hip for other
musicians to have ever composed it. The only blemish here is Al
Jarreau’s vocal on “Whisper Not.” Whether it’s
been playing, composing or arranging, Benny Golson has stayed on course
all these years. He’s a man to be admired.
Concord Jazz, 2009, 70:37.
Echoes Of Ethnicity, Derrick Gardner, trumpet and flugelhorn.
I remember being very impressed with Derrick Gardner’s fist
release for Owl Records, and I’m equally enthusiastic about this
one. Gardner is one of those in your face trumpet players worthy of the
classic Blue Note style. And he surrounds himself with players of
similar virtues. He’s a hard bopper in every sense: riveting
tempos; challenging ensemble playing; exciting original music with
soaring solos and high intensity. I must say I’m not familiar
with any of the names of his sextet of trumpet, trombone, tenor sax and
rhythm section. To add an extra dimension of excitement, Gardner has
added some guests on assorted cuts, suggesting that a lot of thought
and preparation went into this assignment. The one standard in the set
is “Autumn In New York,” a tune that always lends itself
well to the trumpet. Gardner doesn’t miss his opportunity, and
his Autumn might even remind you a bit of Clifford. All in all, this is
a well honed look at the multi-colored landscape that is classic hard
Owl Studios, 2009, 73:31.
Memories of T, Ben Riley, drums.
Now and then something crosses my path that, while not brand new, is at
least not ancient and likely still available. This 2006 session is too
good for you remain unaware of it. To some insiders, Thelonious Monk
was known as “T,” hence the title. As a longtime colleague
of Monk’s, Ben Riley certainly would have qualified to
affectionately address his boss in that manner. Riley and friends are
not trying to re-write history here. They choose instead to bring a
fresh dimension, in this case that of a talented septet to Monk’s
quirky, witty and timeless compositions. And they’ve chosen some
of the best in “Let’s Call This,”
“Pannonica,” “Straight No Chaser” and
“Bemsha Swing,” among others. Riley puts it this way:
“every performance with Monk was an incredible learning
experience. I couldn’t wait to get to the gig each night to see
what Monk had in store for us.” Monk’s music is
honored and celebrated in this set. It’s worth casting about to
find this recording.
Concord Jazz, 2006, 63:44.
I’m Old Fashioned, Eddie Erickson, banjo, guitar, vocals.
Many Portlanders know Eddie Erickson from his role as the
“E” in the group B. E. D. with Becky Kilgore and Dan
Barrett. The cast changes this time, but Erickson’s still here in
live performance with a lively group and enthusiastic audience. Like
his friend Kilgore, Eddie is a keeper of the flame on evergreens like
“Pick Yourself Up,” “Síposin’,”
“Little White Lies,” “You’re A
Sweetheart,” “Dream A Little Dream of Me” and the
title tune. Amidst all these gems, there are also some obscurities and
oddities. All delightful, Mr E.
Arbors, 2009, 70;59.
Where The Warm Winds Blow, Mel Martin, reeds.
Mel Martin is one of those veteran multi-reed guys who remain on the
scene, true to their muse. The biggest surprise here was the presence
of the brilliant Don Friedman on piano, yet another under-appreciated
mega-talent. Reed blows air into all kinds of saxophones, clarinets and
flutes on a selection of fresh, lesser known tunes and a couple of all
timers like “Blue In Green” and “Weaver of
Dreams.” Martin may not be the best-known name in jazz, but
he’s a master of phrasing and a meticulous melody maker.
Jazzed Media, 2009, 62:11.
It’s Clear, Helio Alves, piano.
Helio Alves hails from Sao Paulo, Brazil, so who better to bring us
authentic Brazilian melodies and rhythms than this high octane,
exciting pianist? His choice of acoustic guitarist Romemo Lubambo
brings an extra dose of Brazilian excitement. Alves contributes four
originals among the ten presented here. As is usually the case with
Brazilian music, beautiful melody lines abound, as romance is in the
air. But there’s also some fast-paced and witty outpourings.
After all, you shouldn’t be lulled to sleep.
Reservoir, 2009, 54:27.
Boneyard, Tom Brantley, trombone.
If any of you took some pleasure in past recordings of Trombones
Unlimited type groups, here’s a fresh, new perspective on that
sort of thing. Brantley assembles a cast of four bone doctors to join
his own slide master skills. With assorted additional players, this
becomes a kind of trombone-based big band, and you’ll enjoy
well-chosen, tastefully arranged originals and standards. Don’t
just save the bones for Henry Jones. Leave a few for me!
Live In Tokyo ‘63, Anita O’Day, vocals.
Now and then a previously unreleased gem jumps up and astounds us. This
televised concert finds O’Day at the top of her game, and with a
full orchestra accompanying her. This was Anitas Verve period, so you
know she’s in full flower on tunes like “Travlin’
Light,” “Avalon,” “Bewitched,”
“Night And Day,” “Let’s Fall in Love,”
“Get Out Of Town” and even Four Brothers!
Kayo Records, 2007.
Mission Statement, Jimmy Greene, saxophones.
At age 34, Jimmy Greene is one of the ascending players on the current
scene. He has been characterized as one whose inspiration comes from
the Coltrane-Rollins camp. I hear more of Rollins in his playing, and
to my ear this is both a strength and an occasional red flag.
Greene’s all-original program contains many high-flying moments,
with occasional bursts of over-abundance. He’s a talent to be
reckoned with and should not be reigned in. Call me an old fuddy duddy,
but I’d sure like to hear what he sounds like on one, just one,
RazDaz Records, 2009, 64:46.
Farewell Walter Dewey Redman, Mark Masters Ensemble.
Past recordings by the Mark Masters Ensemble have dealt with the music
of Clifford Brown, Jimmy Knepper and Gary McFarland. And each has been
a must have model of stellar musicianship and bright, buoyant
arranging. The music of Dewey Redman may indeed be the most adventurous
of the bunch, and some of it is about as outside as my ears will allow.
But if you have the ear to give it whirl, it will, in turn, delight you
with abundant creativity and sterling solos work. Is it time to broaden
our horizons a bit?
Capri, 2008, 70:39.
Flexicon, Thomas Marriott, trumpet and flugelhorn.
I hope the jazz community in Seattle realizes what a monster they have
in Thomas Marriott. He’s a trumpet whiz capable of just about
anything playable on the instrument. His new CD is both an
exciting roller coaster ride and a lesson in lyricism. Whether
it’s Freddie Hubbard’s jet-like “Take It to the
Ozone” or a faster than usual flugelhorn solo on “Spring Is
Here,” Marriott and friends have put all the pieces together.
Origin Records, 2009, 50:41.
A Teardrop of Sun, LíTanya Mari, vocals.
There are enough female singers out there who will never get past the
wanna-be stage, but let it be said that LíTanya Mari isn’t
one of them. There’s an easy quality to her voice, and I tend to
gravitate toward such singers. You know ... no need to impress with
swirls and curls among the girls. Instead Mari impresses with her
sincere delivery on “ Very Early,” “I Gotta Right to
Sing the Blues,” “Star Eyes,” and a few choices of
more recent vintage. Visit her at www.ltanyamari.com.
Falconeye Records, 2008, 48:31.
by Kyle O'Brien
B3, Beatty Brothers Band.
Perhaps being twins makes the synergy between brothers John and Joe
Beatty so vital. Or perhaps this album sounds so critical because
trombonist Joe has fought a heart disease that has nearly killed him
twice. Whatever the reason, these young twins and their tight band play
with passion and a sense of urgency. Alto saxophonist John absolutely
tears into his solo on the opener, “Genbaku,” playing with
such emotion and depth you’d think it’s the last time he
might ever play. Both John and Joe have similar tonalities, even on
such opposite horns, so when they play melodies and harmonies together
they mesh like tightly woven textiles. This is modern jazz with a funky
twist, and the grooves created by pianist/organist Yayoi Ikawa, bassist
Jim Robertson and drummer Ari Hoenig are crisp and locked in. There are
no signs of Joe’s failing health - if anything he plays with a
persistence that is invigorating. This is one band of brothers to
2009, Beatymusic, 46:30.
Autumn Moonlight, Avery Sharpe, bass.
Sharpe, McCoy Tyner’s longtime bassist, takes a simple trio
approach to his latest release and in this case simplicity pays off. In
trio settings it’s vital to have three musicians working in
unison at the highest level. That’s certainly the case here,
where Sharpe’s big bass is joined by drummer Winard Harper and
pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs. Most tracks on here are Sharpe’s,
including the opener, a simple blues which grooves easily as the trio
clicks. The cover choices aren’t quite as strong, as with a tame
version of James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain,” but they
don’t distract from the musicianship, and Gumbs makes the most of
the tune with his sense of melody and chord structure. “Take Your
Time But Hurry Up” pushes the simplicity limits with its complex
melody, but it’s a refreshing, note-y start to a fast swinger.
Gumbs proves to be the flash in the trio, his versatile playing the
highlight on most tunes. Plus, his originals, like the sweeping
“Palace of the Seven Jewels,” take the songs to the next
level. This isn’t to say that Sharpe isn’t an exceptional
bassist, often peppering his solos with tasty morsels of slides and
notes, and that Harper isn’t a tremendous drummer with texture
and taste; but it’s Gumbs who shines throughout, which is reason
enough to get this disc.
2009, JKNM Records, 59 minutes.
September’s Child, Joel LaRue Smith Trio.
Pianist LaRue Smith celebrates Afro-Cuban rhythms and African American
jazz traditions. The Director of Big Band Studies at Tufts in Boston
stays true to song forms and clave here but brings enough modern
influence to make it not a completely traditional Latin jazz album.
With Fernando Huergo and Renato Malavasi, LaRue Smith is in good
company. And even though he may not be as fiery as a Cuban player as
Gonzalo Rubalcaba, he knows the Afro-Cuban styles well and incorporates
them into his own compositions, like the rhythmically complex “El
Mensajero,” a rumba that jazzes up the traditional Latin dance.
An intriguing pick is “Fall,” a gem by Wayne Shorter from
Miles Davis’s “Nefertiti” album. It’s a
gorgeous piece of music with a light Latin beat that gives LaRue Smith
a chance to show off his sense of melody, which is sometimes missing
here with all the rhythms being thrown about. It’s a nice disc
that explores the music of the Caribbean and beyond with pointed
2008, Joel LaRue Smith, 60 minutes.
Plainville, Jeremy Udden, saxophone.
Starting your disc off with pump organ, banjo and pedal steel guitar
isn’t going to cement you as a jazz artist. But a deeper listen
to saxophonist Udden’s latest disc shows his love of Americana
and folk musics blended with jazz, as on the title track, a pretty,
simple road song that builds in layers, thanks to Pete Rende’s
pump organ, Eivind Opsvik’s melodic bass and the plaintive
strains of the pedal steel, also by Rende. Not everything is so homey,
though, as the swirling, circus-like “Red Coat Lane” shows.
Things get acoustically funky with “Curbs,” then back to
pretty folk with “Christmas Song,” where Udden is virtually
unheard. But his tremendous sense of melody is there throughout, and
when his alto sax comes in, the pleasant tone and texture fuels this
experimental but pleasing CD.
2009, Fresh Sound Records, 48.9 minutes.
Deep Night, Gaucho.
I must admit, I’m a bit over the Gypsy jazz craze. I can only
hear so many Django-esque groups before I tire of the acoustic jump
swing genre. So while this sextet is more than able on their
instruments, the opening track of “Tea for Two”
didn’t exactly endear them to me. Still, the music is done well
by this tight ensemble, and the fact that they have a horn player, the
vibrato-happy Ralph Carney, makes this dual guitar group stand out a
bit. The beats are infectious, and if you like this kind of music, you
could do a lot worse than Gaucho. Plus, rather than just play Django -
which they do plenty of - they include some New Orleans favorites, like
“Darktown Strutters Ball” and “St. Louis
Blues,” so there’s enough diversity to please more than the
Gypsy jazz crowd.
2009, Gaucho Jazz, 57 minutes.
Rise Up, Dr. Lonnie Smith, B-3 organ.
Time keeps rolling along, and Dr. Lonnie Smith stays firmly rooted to
soul jazz, which is just fine with most fans. His Hammond B-3 has been
a mainstay for ages, and there’s no reason to stop now. His
grooves are just as tight as ever, this time thanks to a group that
includes guitarist Peter Bernstein, saxophonist Donald Harrison and
drummer Herlin Riley. The opener, a searing groover, “A
Matterapat,” by Smith, harkens back to the earlier days of soul
jazz but is updated by its modern lineup. Smith adds the right amount
of mood with the various tones on his organ, letting the rest of the
group solo and shine. The funky cover of the Beatles’ “Come
Together” is even funkier, with Smith’s incoherent
deep-voiced vocals pushing the song along. But things can get quiet and
pretty as well, as on Smith’s lovely ballad,
“Pilgrimage,” where Harrison shows off his mellower side.
Perhaps the best cover to come around in a while is his take on the
Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams,” a haunting, midnight New
Orleans march as done by Smith and crew - genius.
2009, Palmetto Records, 60 minutes.
Mosaic, Kendra Shank, vocals.
Shank’s warm voice is the highlight of this latest disc, though
one wonders why the jazz vocalist starts the recording with Carole
King’s “So Far Away,” which doesn’t stray much
at all from the pop original. And while Shank’s voice is pretty
here, it lends nothing new to the classic tune. Things pick up with
“Life’s Mosaic,” a bopping Cedar Walton tune, which
lets Shank discover the depth of her voice on a more challenging piece.
Shank has such a pretty and pliant voice, it’s the tunes that let
her explore her amazing range that make her shine as an artist, like
her deconstructionist take on the Irving Berlin classic, “Blue
Skies.” Shank is joined by a fine band, including saxophonist
Billy Drewes, guitarist Ben Monder, bassist Dean Johnson, drummer Tony
Moreno, and most notably, pianist Frank Kimbrough, who also adds his
lovely “For Duke” to the mix, backing Shank’s pretty
as a feather delivery with his pointed touch. “Mosaic”
turns out to be just as the title says - a combination of diverse
elements. That diversity comes in markedly when Shank decides to recite
poetry, to lesser effect, on “Water for Your Spring / Beautiful
Love,” which comes across New Age-y rather than jazzy, making the
mosaic not wholly complete.
2009, Challenge Records, 62 minutes.
Sky & Country, Fly.
Fly is a jazz power trio of bassist Larry Grenadier, saxophonist Mark
Turner and drummer Jeff Ballard. Ballard describes the group as
“an intimate band with teeth,” an apt description, since
these players all have serious chops. The fact that there are no
chorded instruments allows musical freedom, and space is utilized to
heighten tension. The music expands and contracts like a living
creature, and the organic nature which seems to flow through the tunes
is uplifting. Turner is an amazing saxophonist who works the upper
register of his tenor with ease, and his style is smooth and
challenging at the same time. All members lend songs to the mix, and
all have a sense of adventure and leave room for improvisation.
It’s not even obvious who wrote which tunes, since there is such
cohesion on the disc. If you like your jazz adventurous, these titans
won’t leave you disappointed.
2009, ECM Records, 62 minutes.
Third Occasion, David Binney, saxophone.
Alto saxophonist Binney has assembled an impressive band to put forth
his original compositions - ambitious works with complex parts, all
coming together in cohesion. With pianist Craig Taborn, drummer Brian
Blade and bassist Scott Colley, he is in great company. His
compositions ebb and flow like a tide, as on the title track, and
Binney balances out the musical voices involved, tempering with his
tonal alto. For fans of tightly wrapped jazz, this may not be for you.
There is such a sense of adventure here, one that deals less in melody
and more in texture and color. There is beauty, as on “This Naked
Sunday,” which also features the richness of a brass section, led
by trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire. Binney even allows himself to shine
without others on the fleet-fingered “Solo,” a vanity piece
to be sure but one that actually fits within the album’s context.
Some may find Binney’s compositions meandering, but they all seem
to come around and pull everything together.
2009, Mythology Records, 60 minutes.
Live at the Zinc Bar, Richie Goods and Nuclear Fusion.
When I see phrases like, “I have always enjoyed science,”
on liner notes, I want to run the other way, especially when the group
is called Nuclear Fusion. Am I going to get some boring, mathematical
equation of music, or is this going to be nerd jazz times five?
Luckily, I went into this disc with an open mind and was pleasantly
surprised, and ultimately, grooved. Bassist Goods revisits some of the
best gems of the early fusion era without being obvious. Included are
tracks like the fiery “Sorceress” by Lenny White, and
“Elegant People” by Wayne Shorter. Goods is an amazing
electric bassist in the mold of a Marcus Miller - solid lines with an
ability to solo with the best of them. He’s helped here by
drummer Mike Clark, who played with Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters
and gets busy with the beats in a style that pushes everything forward.
Helen Sung jumps back and forth between synths, electric piano and
piano with style, and Jeff Lockhart grooves along on guitar. Goods adds
his own classic sounding fusion tunes as well, including the
middle-eastern sounding “Desert Song,” before returning to
familiar tunes like “Snake Oil” and Hancock’s
“Palm Grease.” If you forgot how good fusion could be,
check out this reverential disc.
2009, RichMan Productions, 62 minutes.