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Every Man Is A King

A Thought

Prelude to a Kiss

Columbus Circle Stop

Amandaís Bossa

One for Amos

Garyís Tune

How Great Thou Art

How My Heart Sings


Darn That Dream

Gerald Cannon ( bass); Gary Bartz, Sherman Irby, andSteve Slagle (alto saxophone);Jeremy Pelt and Duane Eubanks (trumpet);Rick Germanson and Kenny Barron (piano); Russell Malone (guitar); Willie Jones III and Will Calhoun (drums)

Recorded Avatar Studio, Manhattan, NY, undated


Bassist Gerald Cannon fronts a shifting contingent of sidemen in this album. To take three of his line-ups to demonstrate the point, his alto sax players are Gary Bartz, Sherman Irby and, on one track only, Steve Slagle, Jeremy Pelt plays trumpet on four tracks, Duane Eubanks on one. Rick Germanson is at the piano stool for six tracks but Kenny Barron appears on three. And so on. The instrumentation stays largely the same but the personnel changes. What remains unchanging is the excellent recorded sound.

The Slide Hampton piece Every Man is a King gets the disc underway, opening with a strong Cannon bass solo and punchy brass playing from Pelt and Bartzís more flickering alto over the supportive comping of Germanson. The trades and ensemble are rock solid, the ethos suffused with confident, straight-ahead brio. Kenny Barron unveils some Latino styling on A Thought, where Pelt plays some of his most lyrical trumpet and where the ethos is delightfully relaxed and infectiousnessly rhythmic. Pity about the fade-out, though.

Variety of ensemble and routines ensures that thereís no sense of ennui here. Slagleís one outing sees him playing over Cannonís rock-solid support on Prelude to a Kiss where Russell Malone enters with effortlessly stylish playing over Willie Jones IIIís ever-accomplished drums. The hustle and bustle of Columbus Circle Stop is reflected in fast exchanges, skirling and swirling dialogues between the front line, a longish drum solo and tautly repetitious piano chording. This sharply defined opus packs a solid punch. Barron takes on a Bossa with grace whilst One for Amos allows the Blues lexicon to be unveiled Ė excellent skipping trades included.

Will Calhoun replaces Jones on drums for Garyís Tune where Germanson plays Fender Rhodes and imparts a different feel to the sound. Itís altogether smoother here, and Malone on the second of his three appearances, prefers to pick his solo rather staccato-style. Thereís the advantage of a lyrical and richly textured How Great Thou Art and a songful ballad in the shape of How My Heart Sings. But donít neglect the taut bop lines of Combinations before the envoi of Darn that Dream, played as a bass solo by the star of the show.

The liner notes are written by that stellar bass partner, the great Ron Carter, who rightly praises the tracks, both succinctly and enthusiastically.

Jonathan Woolf

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