Hank Crawford: Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing (2011)
For this, his fourth Kudu outing, Crawford turns to the music of Stevie Wonder, including two of the Motown star's songs on the date ("All In Love Is Fair" and "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing"), as well as contributing an original that has shades of "Superstition" subconsciously sewn into its melodic design ("Sho Is Funky"). With Bob James onboard to provide arrangements, the saxophonist rounds out the program with two other originals that provide a more complete view of his talents, while lending some variety to the proceedings. "Jana" is a complete stylistic detour, with a woozy melody that speaks volumes about what Crawford learned while in Charles' employ, while "Groove Junction" ends the album on a hip, swinging note, as drummer Idris Muhammad drives the band from below with his inimitable cymbal work.
A few musicians have an opportunity to step into the spotlight, including underrated guitarist Hugh McCracken ("Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing"), but Crawford occupies the driver's seat for the large majority of this date, and his performances never disappoint. While this particular disc is bereft of bonus tracks, making for a short thirty-five minutes listen, it's more important to be thankful for what it has: an abundance of soul in the form of the one and only Hank Crawford.
Track Listing: Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing; Jana; All In Love Is Fair; Sho Is Funky; Groove Junction.
Personnel: Hank Crawford: alto saxophone; Phil Bodner: alto flute, piccolo, tenor saxophone; Joe Farrell: flute, tenor saxophone; Jerry Dodgion: flute, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Pepper Adams: baritone saxophone; Romeo Penque: baritone saxophone; Randy Brecker: trumpet, flugelhorn; Jon Faddis: trumpet, flugelhorn; Alan Rubin: trumpet, flugelhorn; Dave Taylor: bass trombone; Bob James: electric piano, clavinet, Arp; Richard Tee: piano, organ; Hugh McCracken: guitar, harmonica (4); Ron Carter: bass (5); Gary King: bass; Idris Muhammad: drums (2, 4, 5); Bernard Purdie: drums (1, 3); Ralph McDonald: percussion, conga; Alexander Cores: violin; Lewis Eley: violin; Max Ellen: violin; Paul Gershman: violin; Emmanuel Green: violin; Charles Libove: violin; Harry Lookofsky: violin; David Nadien: violin; Matthew Raimondi: violin; Al Brown: viola; Manny Vardi: viola; Charles McCracken: cello; George Ricci: cello.
Record Label: CTI Masterworks