For his second set as a leader, the focus is almost entirely on tenor saxophonist Ralph Moor, who switches to soprano on two of the six numbers. Accompanied by pianist David Kikoski, bassist Buster Williams and drummer Billy Hart, Moore performs group originals, Wayne Shorter's "Black Diamond" and Bud Powell's "Un Poco Loco." Displaying a tone on tenor similar to John Coltrane's, Moore's note choices are more original than his sound. A solid modern mainstream set.
Lynch wrote three of the seven tracks, while Horace Silver, Benny Golson, Tommy Turrentine and Cole Porter penned one apiece. His trumpet sound definitely borrows from previous modern masters Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan & Bill Hardman, and the influence of Silver, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and those of the hard/post bop movement cannot be denied. The latin tinge is also prevalent on the Brazilian bossa inflected "Change Of Plan" and Silver's Afro-Cuban tinged classic "The Outlaw." These two selections serve Lynch well for future excursions away from strict mainstream jazz. A rock solid date from a promising musician whose star is on the rise.
Sonny Criss plays Cole Porter – and the results are way greater than the sum of the parts – even though those parts are already pretty darn great! Criss' alto sax has a superb tone at this time – razor-sharp, and nicely crisp – yet still filled with warmth that sets it apart from some of his more modern contemporaries – a beautiful balance that really illuminates these tunes, and has you thinking of them as fresh Criss compositions, not older Porter standards. The instrumentation is quite fresh, too – thanks to the addition of Larry Bunker on vibes, which is a really nice surprise – and piano by Sonny Clark and Jimmy Bunn. The great Lawrence Marable plays drums – and titles include "I Love You", "Easy To Love", "Night & Day", and "Love For Sale".
Fantastic! This is one of Sonny Criss' masterworks, and an amazing tribute to the LA jazz underground of the 60's. Horace Tapscott composed and arranged all of the tracks on here, and they form a beautiful, soulful, suite that gives Criss a perfect backdrop for his meaningful solos. The work is fantastic, and every moment falls perfectly in line. Haunting stuff that we never tire of listening to, and which we can't recommend highly enough!
For his third Criss Cross release, guitarist Peter Bernstein leads an all-star organ combo that also includes tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, trombonist Steve Davis, organist Larry Goldings, and drummer Billy Drummond. Some of the music that the quintet performs is typical for this type of hard bop/soul-jazz group, including a hot minor-toned blues, "Means and Ends," and Percy Mayfield's blues ballad "Danger Zone." However, a few of the other selections (particularly Bernstein's four originals) are more complex and serve as evidence that the music was being performed in 1996, not 1966. The musicians all play up to their capabilities and Goldings shows that he was one of the most inventive organists of the decade.