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Against All Odds

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Album Review

There are many jazz bassists that swing, have rock-solid deep blue tones, and know their tradition forwards and backwards, but few quite like Curtis Lundy. He's had scant opportunities to lead a band of his own, but this is one listeners can quickly jump on, it's a very good representation of how he approaches the modern mainstream. As usual, he has alto saxophonist Bobby Watson along for the ride. Pianists John Hicks and Anthony Wonsey trade shifts on the nine selections, with drummer Winard Harper throughout. Tenor saxophonist Shelley Carrol is quite prevalent as an instrumental contributor and composer, while trumpeters Roy Hargrove and Peven Everett swap places on select cuts. There's also some outstanding vocal work from sister Carmen Lundy, who is on three wonderful tracks. The very best, "Blue Woman," has her soulfully emoting over a modal horn line that softly swells in six-beat-per-bar time, accented by Hargrove's lilting trumpet solo, a fully realized, beautifully conceived idea. "Where'd It Go?" is a tale of love lost hopefully to be found again, Carmen's pining supported by Wonsey's modal piano chords as Watson's alto musically replies "I'll think about it." The most unusual number, Everett's "Groydology," is a chunky, funky blues-to-small-swing changeling with Hicks' piano in a repetitive boogie foundation similar to Little Richard or Jerry Lee Lewis, setting off a loping horn line for a combination that's immediately ear grabbing. There are several instances where the band recalls Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers' style of post-bop, as on the swinger Carrol wrote, "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?" There are three ballads; Carmen's patient, sweet modal "Long Journey," Onaje Allan Gumbs "All Things Being Equal Are Not" with extended lyricism from Carrol, and what liner note writer Willard Jenkins describes as a "burnt orange" hued lament, "Teardrops," the bassist's lone composition on this CD, with Watson's alto and Hargrove's flügelhorn weeping as Lundy's bass offers the handkerchief. As a complete musical statement, this goes quite far in clearly defining what Lundy's all about. Other recordings, especially the exceptional "Just Be Yourself" (New Note) gave more than a hint, but this very fine CD rams the point home. Curtis Lundy, Top 10 bassist, period. Recommended. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Bassist Curtis Lundy (brother of Carmen Lundy) is best-known for his work as part of jazz vocalist Betty Carter's band, which has at one point or another had several eventual renowned musicians pass through their ranks (including Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, and Don Braden, among others). Lundy has also played on other jazz artist's recordings (including select albums by John Hicks, Bobby Watson, Steve Nelson Quintet, Johnny Griffin, etc.) and in the late '80s briefly stepped out of the background...
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Against All Odds, Curtis Lundy
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