Sometimes an artist must leave his comfort zone to discover his true creative potential. Chicago guitarist Peter Lerner left his Windy City home and ventured east to record "Cry For Peace," a delightful session recorded at the legendary Van Gelder Recording Studio in New Jersey. Producer Don Sickler recruited a supporting cast of A-list New York sidemen, including trumpeter Jim Rotondi, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, trombonist Steve Davis and pianist/organist David Hazeltine, all members of the band One For All.
The disc opens with Lerner's medium-tempo greaser "Lerner Burner," anchored by Hazeltine's in-the-pocket organ playing. Alexander takes a lengthy solo turn before Lerner weighs in with his warmed over swinging lines. The guitarist's straight-forward improvisation takes center stage throughout, especially on the relaxed "Billie's Bossa," Gigi Gryce's "Minority" and the organ groover "The Mean Mr. Green." Far from a mere blowing session, the disc emphasizes slick, small-group arranging, as evidenced on the ominous title track and Herbie Hancock's "Dolphin Dance."
Legendary drummer Victor Lewis, bassist Ed Howard and reedman Jerry Dodgian round out the powerhouse ensemble assembled to breathe life into Lerner's inspired compositions.
Lerner proves himself a highly communicative soloist who applies his ample guitar chops with diligence. From beginning to end, Cry For Peace is an enjoyable, well programmed listen.
Personnel: Jim Rotondi: trumpet, flugelhorn; Jerry Dodgion: alto saxophone, alto flute, flute; Eric Alexander: tenor sax; Steve Davis: trombone; David Hazeltine: piano, organ; Ed Howard: bass; Victor Lewis: drums.