Smooth as Honey, a 3.5
Jack Baker | LeRoy,IL | 04/25/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I picked this up via download, so I wasn't able to learn too much about the session that produced it. I did find a scan of the original back cover of the LP with Nat Hentoff's liner notes, but they were too blurry for me to read. (If any one has this album, I'd be grateful for a legible image posted here on the product page, just for my own education.) This is a Duke Pearson session for Atlantic from May of 1965, reissued on Koch records. Pearson (piano) is joined by 8 other players here, including Pepper Adams (baritone sax, clarinet), Johnny Coles (trumpet), George Coleman (tenor sax), James Spaulding (alto sax), Les Spann (flute), Bob Cranshaw (bass), Mickey Roker (drums), and Garnett Brown (trombone).
This is a fun little album, nothing terribly complex going on. Five of the six pieces were written by Pearson, the exception being "Our Love" (Larry Clinton, Buddy Bernier, & Robert Emmerich), a classically influenced number, in my mind the weakest point on the album. "Honeybuns" is the best piece on the album in my opinion, a soulful bop. "New Girl" and "Heavy Legs" are fun numbers as well. The musicians are all really good, and the songs are all decent, but not long enough for anyone really to stretch out too much. As soon as I found myself getting into something, the song would be over. A pleasant enough album to listen to, with some good grooves, but one I'm grateful I only spent six dollars on. Still a nice enough listening experience, but I wouldn't spend a ton of money to acquire it."