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I Ain't Looking At You

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Album Review

Drummer Alvin Queen is better known for his work as a sideman, though this is hardly his first record date as a leader. But this session is among his very best, leading a powerful quintet including trumpeter Terell Stafford, alto saxophonist Jesse Davis, organist Mike LeDonne, and guitarist Peter Bernstein. They open with a strutting, brassy take of Shirley Scott's "There's Blues Everywhere," while Queen sets up the well-known "Seven Steps to Heaven" with a tension-building solo introduction. The substitution of organ for piano in McCoy Tyner's "Contemplation" dramatically changes the character of the piece, bringing the drums to the forefront and showcasing Bernstein's superb solo. Jesse Davis contributed the funky "I Ain't Looking at You," a sassy piece that is full of humor even without lyrics. The one standard is a heartfelt treatment of the ballad "Old Folks," featuring Davis' conversation-like alto sax. All in all, this is an excellent date and a clear sign that Alvin Queen should be leading record dates more frequently.


Born: 16 August 1950 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s

A crisp, powerful, and swinging drummer, Alvin Queen hasn't recorded as often as his talents merit, but what he's done is consistently engaging and demanding. Queen worked with George Benson and Stanley Turrentine, then traveled to Europe with Charles Tolliver's quartet. During the '70s, he worked with the group Music Inc., co-led by Tolliver and Stanley Cowell. Queen departed America in 1979 for Switzerland, and established Nilva Records. He then toured France with Plas Johnson and Harry Edison,...
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I Ain't Looking At You, Alvin Queen
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