Byard Lancaster: It's Not Up to Us (2003)
Leading off, on the album's title track, where Lancaster makes good use of the flute, but more impressive is the underlying syncopation of drums and congas. On "Last Summer," the flute remains Lancaster's instrument of choice, and the guitar, bass and drums fly free. Erroll Garner's "Misty" gets a good revamping, followed by Sharrock's "John's Children" - he viewed himself as a spiritual heir to John Coltrane - which proves to be the standout track on this album. "John's Children" has a very sincere, spiritually elevated feeling to it, with moments of thunderous exaltation and a consistency of steadfast expression. All the power of a revival meeting in just six minutes.
"Mr. A.A." and "Dogtown" are two Lancaster originals, both with an English folk tone and impressive drumming by Eric Gravatt. Ending the album is the nine-minute "Satan", showcasing Sharrock's advanced strumming and technical ability.
This review originally appeared in AllAboutJazz-New York .
Track Listing: 1. It's Not Up to Us (Lancaster) - 4:53 2. Last Summer (Lancaster) - 3:25 3. Misty (Burke/Garner) - 5:06 4. John's Children (Sharrock) - 6:12 5. Mr. A. A. (Lancaster) - 4:18 6. Dogtown (Lancaster) - 4:09 7. Over the Rainbow (Arlen/Harburg) - 4:35 8. Satan (Hunter/Lancaster/Sharrock) - 9:03
Personnel: Byard Lancaster - flute, alto sax; Sonny Sharrock - guitar; Eric Gravatt - drums; Jerome Hunter - bass; Kenny Speller - conga.
Record Label: Vortex-Water Music
Style: Modern Jazz