One for All: No Problem (2003)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
This starlit group hits the ground running with drummer Joe Farnsworth's driving tribute to Art Blakey: it's an introduction that says, "we have arrived,
folks, just buckle up and ride." Not a hard thing to do and great fun to boot. Recorded at New York's historic Avatar Studios in April of 2003, the sextet's combined mastery and energy are impressive to say the least. "One for All" includes some of the brightest lights in jazz today, who apply themselves to a spirited program of classics and two band originals – the aforementioned blistering "Our Father..." and trombonist Steve Davis's infectious closer, "One for All."
Fans of Eric Alexander's masterful tenor work will be especially delighted by his solo on "No Problem." So will David Hazeltine fans, and Jim Rotondi fans, and....in fact, the consistently strong solos are some of the many pleasures of this disk, along with the band's ability to play together as a driving force. The fact that the arrangements of classics like "Moanin'" and "Whisper Not" are pretty standard detracts nothing from the pleasure of their rendering by a group of this caliber.
On "Time Off," where trombonist Steve Davis first displays the group's communal intention to take no prisoners, I was reminded of the old Maxell ad where the music blows the listener's hair straight back. The guys finally take a breath on "Prelude," in an interesting arrangement where Alexander evokes the ghost of Coltrane's ballad playing and Drummond steps up to the melody.
Recorded so frontally that it sounds live, "One for All" is a powerful supergroup recording that cures the winter blues.
Track Listing: Our Father Who Art Blaky [sic], No Problem, Moanin', Whisper Not, Ugetsu, Time Off, Prelude to a Kiss, One for All
Personnel: Joe Farnsworth (drums), David Hazeltine (piano), Eric Alexander (tenor sax), Jim Rotondi (trumpet), Steve Davis (trombone), Ray Drummond (bass)
Record Label: Venus Records