Duane Eubanks Quintet/Sextet: Second Take
Duane Eubanks's second release for the Swiss TCB label follows the path carved out for his first album, viz., a strong affinity for those Blue Note and Prestige hard bop groups of the 1960's. Not only is this leaning evident in the up tempo material, but in the slower paced pieces as with his lovely ballad "Too Late". Its pensive aura recalls the small group recordings by Miles Davis, Hank Mobley and Lee Morgan.
This allegiance is not only evident in the playing but in the play list which includes pieces composed by Mobley, Morgan and Bobby Hutcherson. Once again Eubanks has teamed with older brother Robin whose presence on trombone adds a level of experience and imagination. It helps to raise this album above the ordinary and make it one of the better hard bop releases of 2001. They show the benefits of a familial bond as they exchange ideas on such cuts as Hutcherson's "Little B's Poem". The Eubanks and their fellow instrumentalists, much like the 1960's groups, take an intelligent approach to the music.
While the level of improvision is extraordinarily inventive, it is not ramshackle, but symmetrical. Even the drum breaks and solos avoid becoming anarchistic and are similar to what one would expect to hear from Connie Kay with the Modern Jazz Quartet. But this does not mean the playing is routine. They reconstruct Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way" featuring dazzling bass plucking by Dwyne Bruno and rat a tat drumming by Peterson providing the underpinning for some thrilling solos by the horns, punctuated with some tongue in cheek blowing by both Eubanks. Orrin Evans on piano goes his own way on this piece which a different journey than taken by Brubeck.
Second Take is a highly enjoyable session which is highly recommended.
Track Listing: Two and One; Little B's Poem; The Enemy Within; In Your Own Sweet way; Too Late; Red, Black and Green Blues; Stopstart; Ebony Slick; Slew Footed
Personnel: Duane Eubanks - Trumpet/Leader; Robin Eubanks - Trombone; JD Allen - tenor Sax; Orrin Evans - Piano; Dwyne Bruno - Bass; Ralph Peterson - Drums; Antonio Hart - Alto Sax