With Friesen as the universal common denominator each piece is guaranteed to move and each of his guests seems to gain enthusiasm from his presence. I’ve personally never been a fan of Michael Brecker, particularly his more recent work, but his work on the reading of Sonny Rollins’ “Airegin” and the Friesen penned “Signs and Wonders” sounds truly inspired; a stirring balance between tasteful restraint and barn-storming intensity. Scofield formulates his customary slightly off-center groove chemistry on “True Blue” and “Old Folks,” and Clark Terry spins a soothing web of gentle swing on “I Want to Be Happy” and “Breeze.” Those expecting the Cool-toned Shank of old are in for a wake-up call with his work here. His easy tone is still present, but often tempered with a smoldering bite particularly on “Double Take.” The pieces with Zeitlin are the least satisfying if only because they lose some edge in the gentle waltz-like waves that unfurl from his keyboard. Kropinski’s style is equally relaxed but without the maudlin excess. He routinely adds rhythmic percussive accents with his fingers to the wooden body of his guitar alongside his blistering string-bending lines. This disc is a beautifully conceived and programmed release that merits your attention and fans of the bass will be particularly impressed by Friesen’s facility.
Track Listing: Airegin/ True Blue/ I Want to Be Happy/ In Times Past/ Alone Together/ On the Road With Jazz/ Signs and Wonders/ Old Folks/ Breeze/ Maybe In Spring/ Double Take/ Pianola.
Recorded: 1, 7- April 25, 1993, Whithorse Studios, Portland, OR; 2, 8- April 16, 1993, Bay Records, Berkeley, CA; 3, 9- June 30, 1993, Whitehorse Studios, Portland, OR; 4, 10- August 22, 1992,
Personnel: David Friesen- bass; Michael Brecker- tenor saxophone; John Scofield- electric guitar; Clark Terry- flugelhorn, trumpet; Denny Zeitlin- acoustic grand piano; Bud Shank- alto saxophone; Uwe Kropinski- acoustic guitar.
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