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Album Review

Baritone saxophonist Kerry Strayer's third CD, Mentor, features more of the urbane arranging for septet that he delved into on his previous outings, Why Not Now? and the Gerry Mulligan tribute Jeru Blue. Featuring the stellar alto saxophone, flute, and clarinet work of Gary Foster, the aptly titled disc is a swinging homage to Foster, with whom Strayer has been associated, either as a student or colleague, since 1976. A strong proponent of the Kansas City jazz scene, Strayer has a knack for melodic arranging that touches on the '50s West Coast "cool" sound and with the mix of post-bop style improvising brings to mind Charlie Haden's Quartet West. Besides tackling such harmonically challenging standards as Billy Strayhorn's "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing" and Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way," Strayer and company also work up such notable numbers as Foster's breezy Warne Marsh tribute "Warne-ing" and Clair Fischer's moody Latin number "Gaviota." Rounding out the solid ensemble are Frank Mantooth on piano, Barry Springer on trumpet, Earlie Braggs on trombone, Bob Bowman on bass, Todd Strait on drums, and Gary Helm on percussion.

Mentor, Kerry Strayer Septet
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 2003

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