Sheryl Bailey 4: For All Those Living (2011)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Sheryl Bailey 4's For All Those Living has a nice, balanced feel to it, with a lively, up-tempo pace that never becomes frenetic. It's finely played, and rewards serious listening, but none of the musicians are overly showy.The quartet plays as much with Bailey's guitar work as behind it, and is clearly sympathetic to its performers.
Already highly respectedand perhaps because of itBailey plays with the self-confidence of a guitarist who's surpassed the point of seeking validation through gee-whiz hyper technique. She has, first and foremost, a very tasteful sound, employing a medium toned pickup that is clearly electric, but neither country-twang sharp nor somnambulant soft. Her playing style on this date favors individual picked notes and arpeggios over chords, which works well against Jim Ridl's piano comping.
Bailey is gracious to her band mates, particularly Ridl, who spends as much time at the forefront of this band as he does backing it. He, too, is a tasteful musician, with great sense of swing and timing. He announces his presence immediately in the opener, "An Unexpected Turn," first blocking chords behind the guitar, then hitting out on his own straightforward solo.
Bailey is also a double-threat, composing all of the tracks in addition to playing them. Straight-ahead, melodic and accessible, they are just good songsand there is always room in the world for that. "Wilkinsburg" has a softly swinging stride that sets up a bluesy workout, and "For a Russian Princess" opens with a lovely waltz melody, before Ridl gives his most strident improvisation on the date. "Moblin"befitting its namesake, saxophonist Hank Mobleyis the cookin' hard bop closeout.
One final note: the CD cover announces that 10% of all sales of this record will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House of New York City providing an opportunity to do good, as well as getting the chance to listen to a good record.
Track Listing: An Unexpected Turn; For All Those Living; A Muse Sings; Masa's Bag; 29-
11; Wilkinsburg; For A Russian Princess; Moblin.'
Personnel: Sheryl Bailey: guitar; Jim Ridl: piano; Gary Wang: bass; Shingo
Record Label: PureMusic Records