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Legends & Mentors

Avery Sharpe

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Album Review

During his long career, bassist Avery Sharpe spent an extended time working with pianist McCoy Tyner, in addition to stints with Archie Shepp and Yusef Lateef. Legends and Mentors is a tribute to these three musicians; Sharpe chose to dedicate an original to each one, along with interpreting a pair of originals by each player. He recruited a top-notch band for this session, including pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs, violinist John Blake, alto saxophonist/soprano saxophonist/flautist Joe Ford, and drummer Winard Harper. The bassist's intense "Big Mac (Bro. Tyner)" is an excellent tribute to the piano giant, including stylistic influences of Tyner without sounding like he is copying his sound. Blake's poignant violin blends well with Ford's soprano sax in the warm take of Tyner's "Ballad for Aisha," while it is the infectious playing of the rhythm section that carries the furious Afro-Bossa groove of Tyner's "Fly with the Wind." Sharpe's complex elements of "The Chief (Bro. Shepp)" demonstrate that the bassist learned much from his time as Shepp's student. Ford is back on soprano for Shepp's ballad "Steam" and alto for the furious workout of Shepp's "Ujaama." The career of Yusef Lateef has been among the most diverse in jazz. Sharpe's "Gentle Giant (Bro. Lateef)" captures the exotic nature of Lateef's music, with Ford's haunting flute prominent. Lateef's rhythmic "Morning" suggests a tribal song at daybreak in Africa, with the rhythm section providing a chant-like vamp behind Ford's alto and Blake playing a droning pizzicato line. Throughout the date Sharpe's basslines glue the rhythm section together and his solos are on the money. Lateef's rapid-fire "Beacuse They Love Me" leans toward avant-garde jazz, with some of the most risk-taking solos of the date. This CD is easily one of Avery Sharpe's best efforts as a leader.


Born: 1955 in Valdosta, GA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

An excellent bassist, Avery Sharpe is best known for his longtime association with McCoy Tyner's trio. He originally played piano (starting when he was eight) and accordion, switching to electric (and eventually acoustic) bass a few years later. At the University of Massachusetts, Sharpe had the opportunity to study with Reggie Workman, and he gigged with Wynton Marsalis and Pat Metheny. Sharpe first teamed up with McCoy Tyner in his early-'80s sextet, and...
Full bio
Legends & Mentors, Avery Sharpe
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 01 April 2008

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