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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Live! From the Detroit
Jazz Festival - 2014

Mack Avenue MAC 1096



1. Introduction

2. Riot

3. The Struggle

4. A Mother’s Cry

5. Santa Maria

6. For Stephane

7. Introduction to Bipolar Blues Blues

8. Bipolar Blues Blues

Carl Allen – Drums

Aaron Diehl – Piano

Tia Fuller – Alto sax, soprano sax

Evan Perri – Guitar

Kirk Whalum – Tenor sax, flute

Rodney Whitaker – Music Director, acoustic bass

Warren Wolf - Vibes

Led by bassist Rodney Whitaker, this is the third appearance on disc of the “superband” assembled from artists on the Mack Avenue label. Like its predecessors, it was recorded at the Jazz Festival in Detroit, the home of Mack Avenue records. The band’s personnel tends to change year by year according to who is available, but this disc’s line-up includes such stars as saxist Kirk Whalum and drummer Carl Allen. Sadly, previous years’ stars like vibist Gary Burton and trumpeter Sean Jones are absent this time round.

The album benefits from a bright sound, in which each of the musicians can be heard clearly but they are acceptably mixed together. The star soloist in Herbie Hancock’s Riot is pianist Aaron Diehl, who creates an airy, resonant sound. Vibist Warren Wolf composed The Struggle, which features a lyrical tenor sax solo by Kirk Whalum. The composer contributes a richly rhythmic solo.

Bassist Rodney Whitaker introduces his own A Mother’s Cry, leading into a springy ensemble. Tia Fuller’s soprano sax and Kirk Whalum’s flute are prominent in the subsequent sharing of solo segments. Pianist Aaron Diehl launches his own Santa Maria with a long, semi-classical introduction, and later he adds a jazzier solo.

Evan Perri’s For Stephane shows how Evan uses his Django-style guitar as the basis for a more adventurous idiom. KirK Whalum explains the origin of his Bipolar Blues Blues, which is a dislocated piece featuring the two saxes.

I can share the enthusiasm of the lively audience.

Tony Augarde

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