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You Leave Me Breathless

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Album Review

Tenor saxophonist Junior Cook's final recording, cut less than two months before his death, finds the veteran hard bop stylist in surprisingly prime form, taking upbeat solos and swinging hard. On this CD, one can really hear the mutual influence that Cook had on Joe Henderson. Trumpeter Valery Ponomarev is also in particularly fine form, and the rhythm section (pianist Mickey Tucker, bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth) is somewhat obscure but excellent. Three group originals, Cedar Walton's "Fiesta Espanol" and four standards (including a warm tenor feature on "Warm Valley" and a hard-swinging "Mr. P.C.") comprise what was one of Junior Cook's finest sessions as a leader; he definitely exited on top.


Born: 22 July 1934 in Pensacola, FL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

An expert hard bop tenor who tended to be overshadowed by more innovative contemporaries, Junior Cook was always a solid improviser. After playing with Dizzy Gillespie in 1958, Cook gained some fame for his longtime membership in the Horace Silver Quintet (1958-1964); when he and Blue Mitchell left the popular band, Cook played in Mitchell's quintet (1964-1969). Later associations included Freddie Hubbard, Elvin Jones, George Coleman, Louis Hayes (1975-1976), Bill Hardman (1979-1981), and the McCoy...
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