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For the past ten years T. K. Blue, also known as Talib Kibwe, has been sideman extrodinaire for Randy Weston’s Spirit of Life Orchestra. Like Billy Pierce to Tony Williams, or Paul Desmond to Dave Brubeck, Blue added depth and soul to the group without stepping out into the limelight. Born in New York to a Trinidadian mother and a Jamaican father, the saxophonist who doubles on flute graduated from NYU and New York’s Jazzmobile to play with Abdullah Ibrahim from 1977-1980. After an eight-year stint in Paris, he took on the responsibility as musical director for Randy Weston. This, his second US release as leader, follows Introducing Talib Kibwe (Evidence Records). Like his playing on Weston’s recordings, Blue is precise, soulful and steeped in a post-Bird tradition. Highlights heard are trumpeter, Eddie Henderson sitting in on Miles Davis’ “Solar” and Randy Weston stops by for a sentimental duo take of “A Night In Tunisia.” Despite a Caribbean theme to “Pileau;” Blue’s performance suffers from the same disease as altoist Bobby Watson, his immaculate approach to music, although a model for those teaching jazz, can sound a bit soul-less. I have no beef with his neat arrangements or approach. Just give us a little less perfection and a little more jazz.
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