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The all-star hard bop sextet One For All combines a number of New York City's top young musicians, nearly all of whom are leaders in their own right, yet egos aren't present at all in this cooperative effort.
Their 11th release focuses on strong originals by tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, pianist David Hazeltine, trumpeter/flugelhornist Jim Rotondi and trombonist Steve Davis, with bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth providing strong rhythm. Throughout the date the ensembles are tight, while the solos are sparkling and never overly long. Highlights include Alexander's tense opener "Anatolia , Hazeltine's sauntering arrangement of the standard "Sweet and Lovely , Davis' lush ballad "Letter to Mary and Rotondi's driving "Express Train .
Davis leads a post-bop date of his own on Update but chooses less frequently performed works from the jazz canon. His take on Wayne Shorter's "Marie Antoinette features the trombonist in a mellow unison introduction with guitarist Peter Bernstein, while his lilting waltz treatment of the tenor saxophonist's "Wildflower is also a gem.
The opening to Dexter Gordon's overlooked composition "Fenja adds a rumba rhythm suggested by drummer Joe Farnsworth. Trumpeter Roy Hargrove adds some punch to the romp through Jackie McLean's "Bird Lives and the trombonist's loping "Grove's Groove . Particularly enjoyable is Ray Drummond's "Leanin' and Preenin' , in which Davis mixes in a few amusing quotes from bop favorites, along with Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring and Tchaikovsky's "Peter and the Wolf in a sparse arrangement with Farnsworth (on brushes) and bassist Nat Reeves.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: Anatolia; Little Lucas; Sweet and Lovely; Downtown Sounds; Letter to Mary; The Lineup; Express Train; Smooth.
Personnel: Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone; Jim Rotondi: trumpet, flugelhorn; Steve Davis: trombone; David Hazeltine: piano; John Webber: bass; Joe Farnsworth: drums.
Tracks: Marie Antoinette; Fenja; Bird Lives; Grove's Groove; The Maze; Daydream; Wildflower; Moment to Moment; Leanin' & Preenin'.
Personnel: Steve Davis: trombone; Ray Hargrove: trumpet; Peter Bernstein: guitar; Anthony Wonsey: piano; Nat Reeves: bass; Joe Farnsworth: drums.