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On his second album, longtime Lionel Hampton Big Band bassist Christian Fabian showcases a collection of tunes that draws in listeners and won't let go until the disc comes to an end. While the CD mostly contains music recorded in a trio format, many of its highlights include guests Jimmy Owens (trumpet) and Andres Boiarsky (tenor sax).
The first to grab the listeners' attention is "Bebop, a tune with a flurry of complex beats that the musicians use to their full advantagepianist Mike Longo, in particular, improvises fluidly through the melody. Another great moment is the original "Summerland, a mellow track with a bossa nova feel in which Fabian introduces the melody by using a bow in his initial solo, then receding into the background in lieu of a Longo solo.
Another high point is Jimmy Owens' "Dear Thaddeus and Roland, a slow-tempoed number in which the trumpeter expertly leads the way with an Arturo Sandoval-inspired groove. Longo switches for the B3 on the funky "Chameleon, a tune on which Boiarsky shines through his explorations of the full range of the tenor sax.
Listen also to the trio's take on Charlie Parker's "Billie's Bounce, which unusually features an accomplished Fabian solo during the first few measures. The track shows that the musicians share great chemistry together, seamlessly exchanging riffs to make a classic tune their own.
Kudos also go to the sound engineering on the disc; the sound is crystal clear and each instrument is properly balanced, sounding like a live performance with a great sound system. The Masters Return! is a highly enjoyable disc and is definitely recommended for fans of straight-ahead instrumental jazz.
Track Listing: The Wayshowers; My One And Only; Bebop; Morning After; Chameleon; Summerland; Willow Weep More; Billie's Bounce; Dear Thaddeus and Roland; Abian Blue; All Blues; Milestones.
Personnel: Christian Fabian: bass; Mike Longo: piano; Lewis Nash: drums; Jimmy Owens: trumpet, flugelhorn; Andres Boiarsky: tenor saxophone.