Multi-reedman, Talib Kibwe a.k.a. T.K. Blue has been lurking in the shadows albeit in workmanlike fashion while serving as musical director for Randy Weston or supporting the legendary Abdullah Ibrahim. On Another Blue T.K. Blue gets his day in the Sun (and deservedly so...) under the auspices of Arkadia Records’ producer Bob Karcy.
Here, Blue puts all of his savvy and years of shedding to fruition with this release on Bob Karcy’s burgeoning Arkadia record label. Blue displays extraordinary flair and technical acumen on trumpeter Tony Branker’s composition titled Chant For Peace Eternal”. Blue’s soaring and engagingly melodic alto sax work speaks volumes while backed by a horn section consisting of Branker and trombonist Bob Ferrel. Blue’s fluid and clear toned phrasing is impressive on Wayne Shorter’s “This Is For Albert”, supported by a fiercely swinging rhythm section comprising astute veterans, Cecil Brooks III (d) and Santi DeBriano (b). Blue’s richly melodic “Evening Prayer” is sure-fire tension reliever featuring lush thematic motifs and a simply gorgeous trombone solo by Bob Ferrel. On “Evening Prayer”, Blue reaches for the heavens through a delicate, light-as-a-feather touch demonstrating his keen utilization of vibrato and tremolo techniques. Despite his proficient technical gifts, Blue is a stickler for nuance and detail, and performs as if he were walking on water, sans the overly saccharine smooth jazz stereotypes. Bud Powell’s “Hallucinations” gets a contemporary be-bop lift via Blue’s crisp yet ephemeral articulations on the flute, supported by the lightly swinging yet full steam ahead rhythm section. Other highlights are, Blue’s sprightly rendition of Miles Davis’ “Solar”, a duet performance of Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night In Tunisia” featuring pianist Randy Weston and Blue’s Caribbean inspired “Pileau”.
Another Blue is a first class production, as T. K. Blue along with fine support demonstrates a well balanced compositional mix, multidimensional approach and warrants high marks for accessibility and entertainment. No frills or hidden agendas here, this is... good jazz the way it’s meant to be... * * * *
Personnel: T. K. Blue; Saxophones, Flute, Kalimba: James Weidman; Piano: Santi DeBriano; Bass: Cecil Brooks III; Drums: Guillerme Franco; Percussion: Michael Cochrane; Piano: Calvin Hill; Bass: Greg Bufford; Drums: Tony Branker; Trumpet: Bob Ferrel; Trombone: Lenny Argese; Guitar
Special Guests: Onaje Allan Gumbs; Piano: Randy Weston; Piano: Eddie Henderson; Trumpet