How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
As a multi-talented session player, Gary Meek has worked with numerous artists who hold a deep respect for quality. His saxophones and flute are featured on Step 7, his latest recording project. Meek brings a full tone and shiny timbre to the session. He’s at his best when conversing with Flora Purim in that universal language which requires no lyrics. Airto, too, joins the ensemble with percussive scat singing to amplify his wide range of percussion tools. Meek’s flute graces several tracks, and his saxophones employ the kind of subtle intensity that recalls the adventures of Cannonball Adderley. It’s a spirit that has to come from the heart. Meek delivers as a singer would, with genuine, heartfelt emotion. Nearly half the program is original material. The leader ensures that the excitement never wanes. With Airto at the drum set, Trey Henry on the upright bass, and Christian Jacob at the piano, he’s got all the tools needed for this job. They’re united.
And then, there’s “Harlem Nocturne.” What a delight! Meek adds an all-star Los Angeles brass section for that one, as he stretches out on alto with all the strength that that piece brings automatically. His expression bubbles over. The leader and his crew are equally at home prancing through a Charlie Parker be-bop session, waltzing the blues from a roadhouse stopover, or feeling the labor of love through beachfront, bossa nova convolutions. Highly recommended. This one will lift your spirits any day of the year.
Track Listing: Step 7; When Love Appears; Time
Personnel: Gary Meek- soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, flute;
Trey Henry- acoustic bass; Christian Jacob- piano; Jose Neto- guitar; Airto
Moreira- drums, percussion, vocal scat; Flora Purim- vocals; Jon Gilutin-
keyboards, piano on