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Reunion With Al

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Album Review

Trombonist Al Jenkins, who recorded with Doc Evans in the late 1940s and Art Hodes in 1956, spent much of his career playing either in the Midwest or in Los Angeles and never achieved much fame. He was an early influence on Dan Barrett's style, so in 1993, the younger trombonist persuaded Jenkins to join him on his record date. As it turned out, this would be Jenkins' final recording, since he passed away Nov. 15, 1996 at the age of 82. In deference to Jenkins, Barrett sticks to cornet exclusively on this CD (it is a pity they did not both play trombone on a song or two). With pianist Ray Sherman (always a marvelous soloist), bassist David Stone and drummer Jeff Hamilton contributing tasteful and swinging support, Barrett, Jenkins and Rick Fay (who switches between clarinet, soprano and tenor) make for an appealing frontline. Jenkins was 80-90% in his prime at the time, and one excuses the occasional blurry note due to the rare experience of hearing him stretch out. Barrett's crisp cornet solos put him near the top of his field, despite it being his second instrument, while on this set Fay tends to sound at his best on tenor. The repertoire generally sticks to familiar tunes, but even the warhorses, such as "Sugar Blues," "After You've Gone" (a feature for Sherman's sparkling piano) and "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" (sung by Jenkins), sound quite fresh and enthusiastic. A definite highlight is the exuberant playing heard throughout "Do You Ever Think of Me."

Reunion With Al, Al Jenkins
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