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.