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On this unusual album, Roy Hargrove (trumpet, flugelhorn), Christian McBride (bass) and Stephen Scott (piano) pay homage to the father of bebop with a generous set of (mostly) Charlie Parker compositions performed in trio, duet and solo arrangements. These three musicians, all of whom are part of the back-to-bop youth movement and all of whom have made names for themselves as session players and fledgling bandleaders, approach the tunes with a combination of reverence and iconoclastic innovation — how often do you think you'll hear "Red Cross" as a bass solo or "Chasin' the Bird" as a trumpet/bass duet? This approach has its limitations, of course; as revealing as Hargrove's solo take on "Dewey Square" is, sometimes the weight of rhythmic responsibility weighs too heavily on McBride's shoulders during the trio numbers, and the groove suffers. Unless you're listening on headphones or in a quiet room with very good speakers, the rhythmic thread of the bassline can easily get lost in the mix, leaving Scott's syncopated comping sounding disjointed. But it doesn't happen very often, and the overall effect of this album is one of new light being shed on an aging but beautiful art collection. Those who know these tunes already will enjoy the album most. Those who don't will find they have much to learn, and should be excited at the prospect.
You can hear how a good bass player really is a back bone of whole ensemble by listening to this album. Granted Hargrove is a jazz master himself, it is also obvious that McBride grounds the piano and trumpet. However, at the same time, he knows how to completely free them. "Dexterity" is a good example as well as "Red Cross."
A Charlie Parker tribute without a saxophone player is a pretty bold notion, but these three pull it off nearly flawlessly. Each displays a virtuoso level of ability on their instruments, and the arrangements are near genius. Christian McBride is a standout here as he provides not only a harmonic structure, but what amounts to the percussive elements as well.
Great album.Strongly recommend
Born: May 31, 1972 in Philadelphia, PA
Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s
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