Two Worlds is an endearing and thoroughly refreshing release from the Franklin/Clover Project featuring Seattle native Marc Seales on piano. On selected tracks veterans Jerry Rush (tpt) and George Harper (saxophones) lend some significant assistance as this recording proves beyond a doubt the virtues of good chemistry, poise and fellowship.
Marc Seales' composition titled, "Highway Blues" features trumpeter Jerry Rush' big brassy attack along with George Harper's "reaching for the stars" or soaring tenor work. The loose feel allows for quite a bit of breathing room for the soloists as in "Highway Blues" which scales well as a mid-tempo and affable piece. The Trio portion of this project performs the Young/Heyman classic "When I Fall In Love". Marc Seales possesses a light, buoyant touch and is quite adept at accelerating the pace and leading the charge in swinging fashion. Here, Franklin's muscular yet poignant bass solo adds vigor and depth to this inherently gorgeous piece. George Harper's "Shalabungo" rekindles memories of 60s Horace Silver or perhaps saxophonist Lou Donaldson' early 70's blend of Funk, R&B hybrid bop. On this piece Harper catapults his bandmates into a tasty swing arrangement as trumpeter Jerry Rush takes a few vibrant yet pleasingly melodic choruses. The Trio format resurfaces on Marc Seales' passionate ballad titled, "Love's Question". Here, Seales' voicings and thematic construction speaks volumes. Jerry Rush' "Follow Your Bliss" features sharp yet meaningfully understated choruses and plenty of interesting solos from Rush and Harper.
Overall, Two Worlds represents a bunch of seasoned veterans who have quietly worked with some of the best. They may not be household names, yet the Franklin/Clover Project convey positive vibes, strong teamwork and prolific songwriting. Recommended * * * *
Marc Seales; Piano: Henry Franklin; Double Bass: Steve Clover; Drums: with Jerry Rush; Trumpet (selected tracks): George Harper Tenor & Soprano Saxes (selected tracks)