Rufus Reid: The Gait Keeper (2004)
Always the master mentor, Reid has made certain that a tight quintet is on hand to interpret his original compositions. The soulful "You Make Me Smile" features Rich Perry's full tenor tone and the tasteful trumpet vibrato of Reid student Fred Hendrix. It previously appeared on Reid's 1984 offering Seven Minds , whose title cut is also reprised here with a classical arco intro that pays homage to its composer, bassist/cellist Sam Jones. John Stetch's piano stands out on both "Ode to Ray," a tribute to Reid's own mentor, bassist Ray Brown, and the capricious "Whims of the Bluebird." His piano solos offer a clear, but ever inventive direction, and his playing effectively converses with both sax and trumpet to create a discourse between rhythm and melody.
The complex title piece has drummer Montez Coleman at the helm as the ensemble jointly navigates through its distinct compositional divisions. With a highly tuned knowledge of his instrument, Reid accesses its full range, never neglecting the upper octaves as he perfectly complements Perry and Hendrix. His solo on "The Meddler" allows the bass to reach its full potential with an intricate melodic line rooted within the greater rhythmic contour. Reid assures that everyone is in step on the suitably titled Gait Keeper.
This review originally appeared in AllAboutJazz-New York .
Track Listing: 1. The Meddler - 8:30 2. Ode to Ray - 6:10 3. Whims of the Blebird - 10:08 4. Falling in Love - 7:51 5. The Gait Keeper - 10:49 6. You Make Me Smile - 7:08 7. Celestil Dance - 6:40 8. Seven Minds - 8:04
Personnel: Rufus Reid - Bass; Rich Perry - Tenor Sax; Montez Coleman - Drums; Fred Hendrix - Trumpet; John Stetch - Piano.
Record Label: Sunnyside Records