Rufus Reid Quintet: Live at the Kennedy Center (2007)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
This CD/DVD set features bassist Rufus Reid with his quintet at the famed Washington DC venue in a program of original music along with one classic tune by Duke Ellington. The quintet, featuring pianist Sumi Tonooka, drummer Tim Horner, tenor saxophonist Rich Perry and trumpeter Freddie Hendrix, follows a standard mainstream format, interpreting each theme together, soloing around the room and closing with a coherent ensemble statement. Their music sounds fresh as each artist digs in enthusiastically before this large concert audience.
After twenty years as Director of Jazz Studies at William Paterson University, Reid has devoted himself to composing original music for his quintet, big band and nonet. He's fully at ease in front of an audience, introducing each piece as if he were speaking in a classroom filled with dedicated students. That intimacy finds its way into his music as well. He delivers "Sophisticated Lady a cappella with remarkable insight.
This set favors deep expression along with the sincere manner that comes with knowing what straight ahead jazz can do for an audience. It comes from experience. The bassist and his crew have plenty going for them throughout the concert and it's made obvious by the camera as it moves in and out from several angles with a clear and colorful image.
As with many classic jazz quintets, this trumpet and tenor saxophone tandem works together in fine harmony; Hendrix is a pleasant surprise, powerful throughout the range of his instrument when the music heats up and soulful deep down inside when the mood turns mellow. Tonooka and Perry deliver adequate solo runs and contribute quite well to the ensemble's success. The DVD includes one extra piece at the close of the program that's not present on the CD: Reid's "The Peaceful Flame, which provides a suitable closing through its lyrical reminders. Reid and his quintet love what they do and it shows.
Track Listing: Come Out and Play; Ode to Angela; Celebration; Heroes; When She Smiles Upon Your Face; Forever On My Mind; Sophisticated Lady; Dreamgliding; The Meddler; The Peaceful Flame.
Personnel: Rufus Reid: double-bass; Rich Perry: tenor saxophone; Freddie Hendrix: trumpet, flugelhorn; Tim Horner: drums; Sumi Tonooka: piano.
Record Label: Motema Music