Michael Melito Quartet: 'Bout Time! (2001)
With trumpeter Joe Magnarelli (on one cut) and tenor saxophonist Grant Stewart on hand, the hard bop performances as led by Melito definitely fall in the same category as the fare cultivated on the Criss Cross Jazz label. Stewart is so unduly neglected that it's a crime, but he's in great form here with a swagger that recalls earlier tenor icons such as Dexter Gordon (spin 'Nobody Else But Me' for proof). As for pianist Paul Hoffman and bassist Paul Gill, the two mesh seamlessly with Melito, who obviously has given much thought to the final recorded sound of his drum kit.
Among the ten tracks, which clock in at close to an hour, are a few originals by Melito, Hoffman, and Magnarelli. Freddie Hubbard's 'Happy Times' and Tina Brooks' 'Minor Move' are sagaciously chosen pleasures that reveal Melito's tastes in obscure chestnuts. Furthermore, choosing to lead in the service of the music, the drummer does not engage in flashy solos and bombast. As such, nothing overly dramatic occurs, but each musician speaks with his or her own voice and the swinging 'lan displayed by all will not doubt offer a healthy share of delights for those of the hard bop persuasion.
Track Listing: Happy Times, Nobody Else But Me, Minor Move, My Ideal, Jack Be Nimble, The Way I Feel, Bella Carolina, The Closer, The Closer (alternate take), Bolivia
Personnel: Michael Melito (drums), Paul Hoffman (piano), Paul Gill (bass), Grant Stewart (tenor sax), Joe Magnarelli (flugelhorn on "Bolivia" only)
Record Label: MHR Records