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Album Review

Kenny Barron is joined by Buster Williams for this live set from the 1986 Umbria Jazz Festival. Since the two had worked together on a number of recording sessions previously, they were very familiar with each other's skills and they mesh very well on all five of the standards on this date. Williams is not a mere accompanist but a musical equal who finds interesting paths when the pianist is in the lead. Barron's inventive approach to these chestnuts is always inventive, especially in the extended takes of "All of You," "This Time the Dream's on Me," and "I Love You." "Someday My Prince Will Come" is rather brief by comparison to the remaining performances, but the novel treatment includes repeating several of the phrases within its structure before moving on, as well as Williams' pulsing repeated bassline. "My Funny Valentine" especially benefits from Barron's bittersweet arrangement. This rewarding date should be considered essential.


Born: 17 April 1942 in Camden, NJ

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of jazz's most valuable sidemen, Buster Williams has flourished through many periods of changing fashions in jazz. Best known since the 1980s for his solid, dark tone and highly refined technique on the acoustic bass, the jazz-rock generation knew him as the mobile anchor of Herbie Hancock's exploratory Mwandishi Sextet from 1969 to 1973, doubling on acoustic and electric basses sometimes attached to electronic effects devices. Williams learned both the double bass and the drums from his father,...
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Two As One, Buster Williams
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