Gotstabe a re-issue of this recording.
Douglas T Martin | Alpharetta, GA USA | 02/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"James Spaulding is one of the great under-recorded musicians in jazz. Despite contributing alto saxophone and flute to many Blue Note recordings, Spaulding never recorded as a leader for that label. On his own, Spaulding leans toward covers of Blue Note standards (nothing wrong with that) usually putting only one or two of his own well-written compositions on his recordings. Fortunately "Gotstabe a Better Way" features seven Spaulding originals, many from his "Song of Courage" suite. Spaulding opens the recording with "Bold Steps", which leads with 25 bars of an alto sax duet with drummer Ralph Peterson; the rest of the band comes in and plays a tune so catchy it could be a Blue Note standard from the sixties. Vibes player Monte Croft joins the band on the 5/4 "Blue Hue" - Croft and Spaulding play the theme together before Spaulding takes off into a gritty alto sax solo. Spaulding, one of the all time great jazz flutists, puts that instrument to good use on the Jamaican-flavored "Ginger Flower Song" while the band alternates between a limber island melody and some hardbop swinging. "Little Niles" is a Randy Weston composition - waltz-like at times, and with lots of percussion from Ray Mantilla. "Gotstabe" is a funky groove that turns Latin, then swinging - there's enough variations in this one song to fill an album by most anyone else. Spaulding switches to piccolo for "In Flight Out, then back to flute for "I Have You". Ron Carter contributes a grooving bass solo to a cover of Charlie Parker's "Barbados" - where Spaulding plays flute rather than alto. A great recording by one of jazz's finest players. The line up: James Spaulding - alto sax & flute, Ron Carter - bass, Mulgrew Miller - piano, Monte Croft - vibes, Ray Mantilla - percussion, Ralph Peterson - drums."