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Pumpkins Delight

Sphere

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Album Review

This 1986 concert by the quartet Sphere is one of the short-lived group's high points, although it was not released until five years after the group had disbanded (in 1988) just prior to the death of Charlie Rouse. "Pumpkin's Delight" is a turbocharged blues by Rouse that kicks off the concert with a flourish. Kenny Barron's "Saud's Song" is another up-tempo cooker, an inventive post-bop vehicle that demonstrates why Barron became one of the most in demand pianists for recording sessions during the decade, as well as showcasing a potent opening solo by Rouse. Bassist Buster Williams composed the remaining three tracks. "Christina" is a pretty ballad, while "Tokudo" is a tricky bop chart and "Decaptkon" ranks as one of the more challenging works in the quartet's repertoire; it features Ben Riley's crisp brushwork and a fine solo by its composer. Recommended.

Biography

Formed: 1982

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s

On the very day that Thelonious Monk died (February 17, 1982), the Monk tribute group Sphere — comprised of Monk's longtime tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Buster Williams, and Monk's former drummer Ben Riley — recorded an album of Monk tunes. Although Sphere started out as a tribute band, it also performed originals and jazz standards during its existence. The quartet recorded for Elektra Musician, Red, and Verve (including a set of Charlie Parker tunes)...
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Pumpkins Delight, Sphere
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