How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
New York-based saxophonist Bob Mover is arguably one of the jazz world's best kept secrets. In a career spanning four decades, Mover has shared the stage with the likes of Jaki Byard, Charles Mingus and Chet Baker, yet, for the most part, has flown under the radar of mainstream recognition. It Amazes Me, the saxophonist's first recording as a leader in over twenty years, is a cozy collection of choice standards performed in a straight-ahead style.
Long-time followers of Mover may be surprised to hear the saxophonist open the disc with his own brand of mellow vocalizing on "How Little We Know." Although his laid-back singing on six of the ten tracks comes across as lukewarm, there's plenty of inspired blowing on alto and tenor to satisfy even the most ardent bop fan. The effortless fluidity heard on "I Believe In You," "Stairway to the Stars" and "People Will Say We're In Love" shows that Mover can light it up as well as anyone. With the kind of street-wise tone expected from a seasoned veteran, not to mention an inexhaustible amount of melodic ideas, Mover improvises with grace and clarity. Exhibiting an edgy lyricism, especially on ballads like "The Underdog" and "(Tu Mi) Delirio," one can hear traces of Jackie McLean, Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins in Mover's infectious wailing.
As far as swinging rhythm sections go, things don't get much better than veterans like pianist Kenny Barron, the late bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer Steve Williams. The three accompany and solo with a right- on-the-money approach. Canadian guitarist Reg Schwager adds tasteful lines to four tracks and Russian tenor saxophonist Igor Butman gets into a spirited back-and-forth with Mover on the leader's own composition "Erkin"
It Amazes Me is a gem of a recording from a first-rate artist deserving of wider recognition.
Track Listing: How Little We Know; I Believe In You; The Underdog; (Tu Mi) Delirio; Erkin; Stairway to the
Stars; Sometime Ago; Deep in a Dream; People Will Say We're In Love; It Amazes Me.
Personnel: Bob Mover: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, vocals (1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10); Kenny Barron: piano;
Dennis Irwin: bass; Steve Williams: drums; Reg Schwager: guitar (4, 6, 7, 9, 10); Igor Butman:
tenor saxophone (5).