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Clifton Anderson has spent almost a quarter-century playing trombone in Sonny Rollins' band, rarely leading his own groups. Decade is Anderson's second release as a leader, utilizing a variety of musicians in different combinations (several of whom are Rollins alumni or sidemen): pianists Larry Willis and Stephen Scott, bassists Bob Cranshaw and Christian McBride, drummers Al Foster and Steve Jordan, saxophonists Kenny Garrett and Eric Wyatt, plus percussionist Kimati Dinizulu. On his own, Anderson has a better chance to showcase himself without the competition from his uncle's long solos, as well as featuring his catchy post-bop compositions. He isn't trying to ignore his association with Rollins though; the upbeat calypso, "Aah Soon Come," features Wyatt's punchy tenor in a humor-filled solo. His snappy "So Wrong About You" is a strutting affair that sounds like it was written during the heyday of hard bop.
The standards are just as much fun. Anderson's improvised muted introduction to "I'm Old Fashioned" is backed solely by Foster, taking this old warhorse for a spirited ride in a driving bop setting. Anderson also uses a mute for "We'll Be Together Again," with Scott as his only partner, taking the song away from its typical bittersweet flavor and adding a touch of whimsy. He transforms the '70s pop song "If" into a slightly breezy hard bop setting, with his expressive solo complemented by Scott, McBride and Jordan. Hopefully it will not be another decade before Clifton Anderson releases his next CD.
Track Listing: Noble; So Wrong about You; I'm Old Fashioned; Z; I'm Glad There is You; Deja-Blu; If; Aah Soon Come; We'll Be Together Again; Stubbs.
Personnel: Clifton Anderson: trombone; Larry Willis: piano; Stephen Scott: piano; Bob Cranshaw: bass; Christian McBride: bass; Al Foster: drums; Steve Jordan: drums; Kenny Garrett: alto sax; Eric Wyatt: tenor sax; Kimati Dinizulu: percussion.