Buster Williams: Griot Libertè (2004)
Brimming with tender reflection while somehow not in the least bit sentimental, it's a lovely record from the word go. Williams, who's played with just about every jazz legend you can name since he turned pro in 1959, is as rock solid a bassist as they come, and from the from the disc's very first bowed note you know you're in good hands. The band is fully alert yet wonderfully relaxedthese guys sound as if they've been playing together for a decade, and in some respects they have: White has been Williams' preferred drummer since 1996; Harris has waxed two previous discs under Williams' leadership; and Colligan's association with Williams precedes the pianist's relocation to Manhattan in 1995.
With a band this strong, Williams can afford to be generous, and he is; everyone gets a chance to shine, and no one disappoints. There are too many fine moments on the disc to relate, but some standouts include the dusky modal opener "Nomad, Williams' gorgeous solo on the lyrical "Triumphant Dance of the Butterfly, Harris' delicate handling of Porter's melody on "Everytime We Say Goodbye, and the aforementioned "Concierto de Aranjuez. Press play, turn down the lights, breathe deep, and enjoy the ride.
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Track Listing: Nomads; Related to One; The Triumphant Dance of the Butterfly; The Wind of an Immortal Soul; Everytime We Say Goodbye; Joined at the Hip; Concierto de Aranjuez; After the Ninth Wave.
Personnel: Buster Williams: bass, piccolo bass; Stefon Harris: vibraphone, marimba; George Colligan: piano; Lenny White: drums.
Record Label: HighNote Records