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Larry Willis: The Big Push (2006)

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Larry Willis: The Big Push How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Pianist Larry Willis has been on over 300 sideman sessions and led eighteen of his own albums since 1970, fifteen of them since 1989. Willis has been in involved in many sub-genres of jazz, largely in the earlier years including jazz-rock fusion and the avant-garde. He was the pianist for Blood Sweat & Tears in the early '70s, Sonny Fortune in the late '70s, and David "Fathead" Newman, Carla Bley and Nat Adderley in the '80s. His albums have appeared on Groove Merchant, Audioquest, Brunswick and Mapleshade.

In choosing a trio for The Big Push, Willis selected drummer Al Foster, his old student partner from the High School of Music & Art in Manhattan, and the in-demand bassist Buster Williams. The tunes are a combination of a few sturdy standards, two originals and jazz standards. Beginning with an untempo version of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic "The Surrey with The Fringe on Top," Willis and company find out what makes its wheels turn; his tribute to former employer Nat Adderley is a poignant "Poppa Nat." Buster Williams steps in frequently to provide fine support for Willis, notably on the ballads and mid-tempo tracks; Al Foster supplies just the right touch for the cookers as well as the tastefulness needed on the ballads.

Track Listing: The Surry With The Fringe On Top; Today's Night; The Day You Said Goodbye; Just Wait And See; Annika's Lullaby; I Have A Dream; Everything I Have Is Yours; The Big Push; Poppa Nat.

Personnel: Larry Willis: piano; Buster Williams: bass; Al Foster: drums.

Record Label: HighNote Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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