Kerry Strayer Septet: Jeru Blue: A Tribute to Gerry Mulligan
There's so much to enjoy about this CD! All of the band members are afforded solo opportunities, and their solos are consistently well constructed and executed. A particular delight is the flute-piano interplay on "Dragonfly." For those who study and/or appreciate good arranging, Strayer offers much to absorb. He uses the four horns in a variety of lead and background configurations and writes excellent voicings. For example, check out the four-horn background figures supporting Johnson's bass solo on "Festive Minor." The ensemble plays cohesively throughout the disc, as evidenced both by the rhythm section's hand-in-glove comping and the horn section's blend during ensemble passages (belying the fact that the horns are session aces, not long-time bandmates). Finally, the disc strikes an appropriate balance between honoring Gerry Mulligan (both via his obvious influence on Kerry Stryker as a baritone saxophonist and through the use of his expert compositions) and making its own statement without merely copying or recreating Mulligan's works. (Palmetto Jazz PM-2040).
Tracks: Jeru Blue; Rio One; Tell Me When; Festive Minor; Dragonfly; Oh, Mr. Sauter? Yes, Mr. Finegan?; Night Lights (The Lonely Night); North Atlantic Run; Idol Gossip. (58:12)
Kerry Strayer (baritone and soprano sax); Randy Brecker (trumpet); John Mosca (trombone); Ted Nash (tenor sax and flute); Ted Rosenthal (piano); Dean Johnson (bass); and Ron Vincent (drums).
Record Label: Palmetto Records