Don Lanphere: Home At Last (2002)
In 1982, buoyed by his born-again Christian faith at 60, Lanphere revived his career and has produced a succession of glorious swing-to-bop recordings topped by the recently released, Home At Last.
Liner notes credit inspiration from “Bird, Prez, Zoot and the two Sonnys,” but Lanphere’s warm, plaintive synthesis of stylistic advancements by Parker, Young, Sims, Rollins and Stitt is a very personal sound, a masterful, individual voice. On Home At Last, Lanphere’s assured, succinct improvisations are framed expertly by New Stories’ supple rhythmic support. Pianist Marc Seales is a particularly adept accompanyist and, like his rhythm team of bassist Doug Miller and drummer John Bishop, a sensitive listener who knows how to leave lots of breathing room for the leader.
Romantic ballad readings of “Alone Together,” “Violets For Your Furs,” and “Goodbye” ground the group’s more muscular workouts with a tenderness that is heartbreakingly beautiful. The confidence and virility of Lanphere’s playing is in evidence from the opening “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes.” Seales stands out on that cut too. Several of the band’s arrangements are playful adaptations of the ballad form, particularly Lanphere’s clever remaking of “My Ideal” and Hank Mobley’s “ Home At Last.” Another treat is Lanphere’s elegiac soprano sax reading of “Estate” followed by the saxophonist’s most endearing homage to Lester Young, a gorgeous version of “The End of A Love Affair.” He caps a superb studio effort with a soulful, wise version of Gordon Jenkins’ “Goodbye.” Don Lanphere is an absolute master, and this is a masterpiece.
Track Listing: 1. The Night Has a Thousand Eyes (Garrett/Wayne/Weisman) - 6:32 2. Alone Together (Dietz/Schwartz) - 8:15 3. My Ideal (Whiting) - 6:51 4. Invitation (Kaper) - 8:21 5. Violets for Your Furs (Dennis) - 5:40 6. Home at Last (Mobley) - 6:55 7. Solar (Davis) - 6:47 8. Estate (Brighetti/Martino) - 6:14 9. End of a Love Affair (Redding) - 5:04 10. Goodbye (Jenkins) - 4:51
Personnel: Don Lanphere - Saxophone, Doug Miller - Bass, Marc Seales - Piano