WyclifWycliffe Gordon and Eric Reed give one of the best jazz performances of 2007 in this expressive and highly creative program of eleven familiar pieces. Armstrong, Ellington, Sinatra, Monk and Stevie Wonder are represented with deep respect and musical purity; yet, both artists carve into the modern mainstream with free-flowing thoughts.
Gordon and Reed came onto the modern jazz scene at about the same time, but from different geographical directions. Musically, they've pursued the same goals while searching for the ultimate key to expression. Gordon pumps variety into his creations by employing a natural, vocal-like manner that sings out with passion. Similarly, Reed tackles each project with warmth and a keen sense of felt spirit. We 2
finds the duo engaged in spiritual activity through a variety of themes. On "Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?" they converse on trombone and piano as if sharing the mood with a local Bourbon Street café audience. Ballads, such as "Nancy (With the Laughing Face)," carry considerable emotion; slow, somber and harmonically rich, the music flows with clear meaning. Reed's "They" carries a driving passion with ethereal threads woven seriously around a golden theme, while Benny Golson's "Five Spot After Dark" captures the feeling of a night out on the town with friends. Gordon and Reedmusical friends of the highest caliberturn in a certifiably winning performance with this latest gem.
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Personnel: Wycliffe Gordon: trombone, vocal (8); Eric Reed: piano, vocal (8).