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Here’s a generous helping of flavorsome post–bop Jazz deliciously home–cooked by T. K. Blue (also known as Talib Kibwe, and as a conspicuously talented woodwind player, often with Randy Weston’s Spirit of Life Orchestra) and his enterprising companions. Group sizes range from duo to sextet with Blue (alto) and Weston duetting wonderfully on Dizzy’s “Night in Tunisia” and trumpet master Eddie Henderson augmenting Blue’s quartet on the impulsive finale, Miles Davis’ “Solar.” Blue plays alto on seven tracks, soprano on Wayne Shorter’s burner, “This Is for Albert,” soprano and flute on his own composition, “Pileau,” flute on Bud Powell’s “Hallucinations” and “It’s Really All About Love,” kalimba and alto on “Crossings.” Besides “Pileau,” Blue wrote “Evening Prayer,” “Another Blue,” “All About Love” and “Crossings.” Blue’s full–bodied alto resides in a contemporary Gary Bartz/Kenny Garrett/Jesse Davis precinct (but with its own dialect and shadings), while his nimble flute work is reminiscent of Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Hubert Laws and other modernists. His compositions are consistently engaging, especially the Caribbean–based “Pileau.” Blue has chosen his sidemen with care, and each one plays an important role in helping him accomplish his purpose. Branker wrote the inspiring curtain–raiser, “Chant for Peace Eternal,” and plays flugel on that number and on “Evening Prayer” (which includes enchanting solos by Blue and trombonist Ferrel). Pianist Cochrane, bassist Hill and drummer Bufford form the rhythm section on those numbers, pianist Weidman (who arranged “You Go to My Head”), bassist Debriano and drummer Brooks on the others, and each one gives Blue ample support without intruding on his space. Aside from Blue’s deft improvisations, which sparkle throughout, the highlights include Weston’s and Henderson’s guest appearances, the persuasive charts and solid group interplay. A first–class session.
Track listing: Chant for Peace Eternal; This Is for Albert; Evening Prayer; Hallucinations; Another Blue; You Go to My Head; It’s Really All About Love; A Night in Tunisia; Crossings; Pileau; Solar (58:34).
Track Listing: Chant For Peace Eternal; This Is For Albert; Evening Prayer; Hallucinations; Another Blue; You Go To My Head; It’s Already All About Love; A Night In Tunisia; Crossings; Pileau; Solar.
Personnel: T. K. Blue; Saxophones, Flute, Kalimba: James Weidman; Piano: Santi DeBriano; Bass: Cecil Brooks III; Drums: Guillerme Franco; Percussion: Michael Cochrane; Piano: Calvin Hill; Bass: Greg Bufford; Drums: Tony Branker; Trumpet: Bob Ferrel; Trombone: Lenny Argese; Guitar
Special Guests: Onaje Allan Gumbs; Piano: Randy Weston; Piano: Eddie Henderson; Trumpet
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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