Published since 1997
Jim Santella has been contributing CD reviews, concert reviews and DVD reviews to AAJ since 1997. His work has also appeared in Southland Blues, The L.A. Jazz Scene, and Cadence Magazine.
Pianist Geri Allen interprets each movement from the Zodiac Suite with fiery passion and a relaxed swing that lifts you up out of your chair. The straight-ahead drive of bop powers each selection with authority, as Allen, bassist Buster Williams and drummer Billy Hart stretch out with a relaxed feel for what Williams had envisioned. As with the original, several of the movements are performed by solo piano.
Geri Allen pushes the envelope often. On "Scorpio, for example, she drives the exotic melody at an unhurried pace through lyrical landscapes. Swinging gently and rolling with the waves of tradition, she lets the music ooze gracefully through her fingers. Bass and drums share in her heartfelt interpretation with remarkably well-defined roles. But Allen is never satisfied with mere reflection. She creates a swirling storm of passion that drives the piece powerfully toward its resolution.
Allen's "Thank You Madam emphasizes the eclectic approach to modern jazz that Mary Lou Williams espoused. Free to explore new territory, she gave us a treasury of great music. Allen's composition moves stalwartly over hallowed ground as a fitting tribute. Highly recommended, Zodiac Suite: Revisited combines traditional elements from jazz history with the kind of progressive energy that has always followed great artists.
Track Listing: Zodiac Suite: (Aries; Taurus; Gemini; Cancer; Leo; Virgo; Libra; Scorpio; Sagittarius; Capricorn; Aquarius; Pisces); The BeBop Waltz; Intermission; Thank You Madam.
Personnel: Geri Allen: piano; Buster Williams: bass; Andrew Cyrille: drums (13,15); Billy Hart: drums (all other tracks).
Record Label: Mary Records
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