CD Reviews

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Webmaster: Len Mullenger

Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby


The Legacy lives On

Mack Avenue Records





    1. Sunset Eyes
    2. Last Train From Overbrook
    3. Cloud Burst
    4. Blue Monk
    5. Lovin’ It, Lovin’ It
    6. When Lights are Low
    7. River’s Invitation
    8. It Never Entered My Mind
    9. Shirley’s Soliloquy


    1. Jazz
    2. Old Man Jazz
    3. Memories of You
    4. Centerpiece
    5. New Rhumba
    6. Sweet Lorraine
    7. Moody’s Mood for Love
    8. Last Night When We Were Young

These tracks were recorded in 2002, under the supervision of drummer Stix Hooper, who founded The Crusaders and who also plays on the tracks which feature the Ray Brown Trio (1.4 & 2.3).

Each track features a different combo, the first up, Sunset Eyes features Teddy Edwards & James Moody – tenor, Oscar Brashear – trumpet, Cedar Walton – piano, Al McKibbon – bass and Willie Jones – drums. I have not heard a lot of Oscar Brashear’s, work but he is undoubtedly the star of that track, his tone is clear and his inventive and well executed solo is a joy. 1.2 has James Moody with the same rhythm section and is another good track, Moody has always been one of my tenor favourites, he has absorbed the best of contemporary music and thrown away it’s excesses.

Cloudburst is exactly what you would expect from Jon Hendricks surely the ‘hipest’ scat man ever. Lovin’ It has the same line up as 1.1 and everyone solos well. When Lights are Low is a great tune that should be heard more often, Jon Hendricks takes the vocal, there is some nice flute from James Moody and some wonderful ‘comping’ from Walton. The excellent Oscar Brashear is heard again, this time on muted trumpet. River’s Invitation adds guitarist Kenny Burrell, who brings another dimension to the music. This is a ‘funky’ tune and the guitar fits in well, after playing the theme statement Kenny Burrell plays the first solo whilst the others riff in the background. The excellent Shirley Horn has the last two tracks, one of the greatest of jazz vocalists and a fine piano player, who could be better!

CD2 starts with the same band that played on 1.7, playing a fine arrangement of a tune called Jazz. I could not find any info of who wrote it or who did the arrangement, another excellent track though with good solos from all concerned. Old Man Jazz features vocalist Ernie Andrews in the company of Oscar Brashear, Louis Taylor – alto & tenor sax, Cedar Walton, Al McKibbon and Roy McCurdy – drums. Ernie knows how to sell a song and this one tells an interesting story1

The Ray Brown Trio gives another immaculate performance on Memories of You, featuring Ray’s superb bass playing. Centerpiece is a blues played with the same line up as 1.7. These guys are the best there is around, so the blues is something they all play so well and I never tire of hearing them do it. New Rhumba brings back John Hendricks with a fine backing arrangement. Pete Jolly (piano) joins James Moody for Sweet Lorraine, Pete is everyone’s favourite pianist, he has been the star of many recordings for me, and there are very few better jazz pianists anywhere. Moody renders one of his quirky vocals, for which he is famous on the next track and John Hendricks wraps everything up with Last Night When We Were Young.

Congratulations Stix Hooper, you have produced a quality album of very listenable jazz using some excellent musicians.


Don Mather

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