How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
"Exactly My Sentiments" is a good start to this new release by Al Grey’s group. Randolph Noel on piano wrote the tune and he does shine on it. Most musicians do their best on tunes they write; this tune is no exception. Joe Cohn gives a spirited performance on this tune and "A Day in the Life of a Fool." Everyone gets a chance to show their stuff on "Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid," especially Cleve Guyton on alto after an intro by Cohn, then Al plunges in with some of the tricks he does with the trombone.
"Matzoh and Grits" is an original by Al and he really shows you that his trombone and group can produce a rhythm that is contagious. "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" belongs to Joe Cohn, who is fast becoming one of our top guitarists. His unique creative ability is coming into its own, and it is no longer necessary to make a point of his musical upbringing. Randy Noel is featured on "My Romance" and he does give an expressive reading which would capture any audience. "Caravan" starts off with Al who gives it a mysterious aura that is then continued by the rhythm section.
Al is a national treasure because of his long history of graceful performances with groups, vocalists, and his artistic work with the trombone. He still teaches his techniques with the plunger and using his hand and fingers to give his solos a special flavor, but until his students learn to use his methods, we should know that he is the last of the creative trombonists still active.
Personnel: Al Grey: leader, trombone, vocal on "Cotton Tail"; Randolph Noel: piano; Cleve Guyton: alto, flute; Joe Cohn: guitar; J.J. Wiggins: bass; Bobby Durham: drums.