The Lonnie Plaxico Group: Live at the Jazz Standard (2004)
Festivities are kicked off appropriately with a blue-flame "Sidewinder." Trumpeter Alexander Norris pays proper homage to composer Lee Morgan without descending into mere imitation. But it is Strickland who solos first, more Hank Mobley than Wayne Shorter. Then Norris surfaces with a suitablee funky solo. For the more standard-minded, if "Sidewinder" did not whet your appetite, there is the most original "Summertime" since Gene Harris' version with Ray Brown on Bam, Bam, Bam. Here, the chestnut begins as a unison ensemble piece resembling a big band. Then, the mood and personality changes to a nuclear funk counterpoint bouncing off of a contemporary filter. "You don't Know What Love Is" features a plaintive Norris trumpet recalling Chet Baker.
Plaxico's own compositions are provocative and thematic. "A Shorter Take" is a wink at Way Shorter, written in his beautifully abstract style. "Along Came Benny" nods to Benny Golson and his "Along Came Betty." All are smartly composed and played, making this a completely enjoyable recording.
Track Listing: Sidewinder; Jumping Jacks; Dedicated To You; A Shorter Take; Summertime; Along Came Benny; You Don't Know What Love Is; Cachao's Dance; Senor Silver.
Personnel: Lonnie Plaxico: Bass; Alexander Norris: Trumpet; Marcus Strickland: Tenor Saxophone; Martin Bejerano: Paino, Keyboards; Lionel Cordew: Drums; Kahlil Kwame Bell: Percussion.
Record Label: 441 Records