Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Fine early effort from a great player
N. Dorward | Toronto, ON Canada | 01/19/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album is a reissue of one of Bobby Watson's earliest albums as a leader, dating from 1983. In fact (& despite the credits on the cover) he's a co-leader here, sharing duties with the bassist Curtis Lundy (which explains the bass's prominence in the mix). It's a great band: in addition there's Melton Mustafa on trumpet, Mulgrew Miller on piano, Marvin Smitty Smith on the drums, & (on just the long title-track) Hamiet Bluiett on baritone. The hallmarks of Watson's music are already in evidence here: compositions of great subtlety & substance that exploit the resources of all the players (Watson is particularly attuned to drummers, as his long-term relationship with Victor Lewis demonstrates). The album opens with a welcome cover of Sam Jones' "Unit Seven", & moves through a fine batch of compositions--I especially like Lundy's beautiful ballad "Luqman's Dream", & Watson's classic "Wheel Within a Wheel" (I can still remember seeing him play it as an alto solo many years ago in a PBS special on Art Blakey.....) "Gumbo" is a terrific medium-tempo tune with Bluiett's loping baritone prominently featured--a pity he's only on the one track. Watson's genial, lovely alto playing--a modern descendant of Johnny Hodges--is already commanding. One suspects the emphasis here on getting the maximum effect out of small forces isn't so much influenced by Art Blakey (Watson's employer at the time) as by Mingus, & perhaps Betty Carter (Lundy & Miller were veterans of her band).The album does have a slight early-1980s period feel--not so much in the playing as in the studio sound--but that's hardly a big quibble. Good modern jazz. It doesn't reach the heights of Watson's great series of albums for Columbia (_Midwest Shuffle_, _Tailor Made_, _Present Tense_) but, well, they're out of print, & this one is still in print, so....."