How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Curtis Mayfield's solo work and his work with the Impressions are highwater marks in popular music, representing the Chicago soul music constituency popular in the 1960s and '70s. His influence is yet to be fully realized or understood today, making his creative corpus a very tantalizing source of material for modern players. Jazz Soul Seven, an all-star septet under the erstwhile leadership leadership of drummer Terri Lyne Carrington
, pays a fully-realized tribute to the music of Mayfield on Impressions of Curtis Mayfield.
This is the highest caliber of music made by the highest caliber of musicians. Arrangements are dense and funky, capturing well the essence of Mayfield's generous gift while constantly feeding new ideas and sound combinations for consideration. Mayfield's touchstone, "People Get Ready," offers a case in point. This piece could have been arranged in any number of ways, all being more than acceptable. But the arrangement allows pianist Russell Ferrante
to play a skewed gospel vibe, one that does not fully resolve itself into traditional harmonies. He still manages to find the soul and funk supporting the other's solos. The effect is fresh. Trumpeter Wallace Roney