A fantastically hip performance from trumpeter Kenny Dorham – a never-heard live set, recorded for radio at a time when he was really stretching out! The group is as compelling as the performance – and features the excellent Sonny Red on alto, hitting some of those incredibly edgey notes he'd play with Donald Byrd – plus a young Cedar Walton on piano, John Ore on bass, and Hugh Walker on drums – the latter an overlooked genius on the kit, who gave us some great work with John Patton and Harold Mabern! This group is featured in a 1966 performance that takes up most of the CD – with long performances of the titles "Jung Fu", "Spring Is Here", "Somewhere In The Night", "Straight Ahead", and "The Shadow Of Your Smile" – with a few interview snippets by announcer Alan Grant. Grant also presents the remaining three tracks on the set – material from a 1962 date that is equally great, but also shows just how much Dorham had evolved in the four years that led up to the later recording. Kenny blows trumpet with Joe Farrell on tenor, Walter Bishop Jr on piano, Larry Gales on bass, and Stu Martin on drums – on "Woody N You", "If I Should Lose You", and an incomplete performance of "Au Privave".
The Modey Lemon's Phil Boyd (guitars, Moogs, vocals) and Paul Quattrone (drums) invited Jason Kirker to join the band on bass and keys after he produced Thunder + Lightning. But that's not the only change on 2005's Curious City. In the band's earlier work, Boyd sang in a slithering rasp that matched Modey's blues-punk skuzz ably, if only satisfactorily. But on City his suddenly clearer vocals are the key hinge to mounting blasts of hellacious Moog noise and weird melodies that slink from under the belly of classic rock & roll. (On Curious they're weird even when quiet, as the downcast Animals redux "Countries" proves.) The background of "Fingers, Drains" warbles in heat and melting instrument noises, and Boyd's vocal on it is downright sultry. Meanwhile "Sleep Walkers" is some of the most efficient music Modey Lemon's ever made; it sounds like a lost Golden Earring B-side with its throbbing bass and insistent drum clap.
This double-CD has 24 different groups of fusion musicians (including some from Europe) paying tribute to Weather Report. Despite the personnel and often the instrumentation changing from track to track, there is a unity to the project and many of the bands sound quite a bit like Weather Report, either purposely as part of the tribute or naturally. The programming is somewhat random and the bands bring back the sound, grooves, and spirits of Weather Report rather than necessarily always sticking to their compositions. All in all, this is a heartfelt and very well-played tribute that can also serve as an introduction to a cross-section of some of today's top fusion musicians, many of whom are not household names yet.