Larry Willis: The Offering (2008)
The six-note ostinato bass line on the title track sets Willis in high-flying motion, caressing the keys with stylish improvised flitters. The driving opener also features a boisterous drum solo by Drummond. "TD's Tune," Willis' bouncy minor theme allows Gomez to flex his creative muscles, resulting in a bass solo of astonishing lyricism.
The spacious, Latin-tinged "Alter Ego" segues nicely into the melancholic charm of Willis' "Ethiopia," a compositional high point of the disc. Willis' arrangement, featuring beautifully bowed passages for Gomez, is hauntingly lush.
Alexander demonstrates a soulful edge on the up-tempo "The Rock." His blistering tenor foray intensifies the proceedings and leads to charged up solo turns by Willis and Drummond. "Three-Four Movement" is a light-as-air waltz with a thick harmonic undercurrent, reminiscent of the recordings Gomez made with pianist Bill Evans in the 1970s.
Although "Theme from Star Trek" may seem like an odd choice for a jazz recording, the familiar theme lends itself surprisingly well to the swinging treatment exhibited here. The disc ends with a brief solo piano reading of Duke Ellington's "Melancholia," a poignant ending to session filled with moments of creative mastery.
Track Listing: The Offering; TD?s Tune; Alter Ego; Ethiopia; The Rock; Three-Four Movement; Theme From Star Trek; Melancholia.
Personnel: Larry Willis: piano; Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone (2, 5, 7); Eddie Gomez: bass; Billy Drummond: drums.
Record Label: HighNote Records