The N. Glenn Davis Quartet resurrects the sound of classic bebop on Come Right In, presenting a set of 10 tunes arranged by Davis, three enhanced by saxophone giant Phil Woods.
Woods plays magnificently on two Davis originalsthe opening "A Different Day" and "Just a Tadd," as well as "If You Could See Me Now." Never at a loss for the right phrase or variation, his playing flows through several choruses on each tune. Woods may be the finest bebop saxophonist today, and although the opportunities to play straight-ahead seem to be getting rarer and rarer, heand the bandresist any temptation to add hard bop or fusion sensibilities to the mix.
Woods channels Charlie Parker on the opening of "If You Could See Me Now," carefully articulating his lines and delivering a fine multi-chorus solo that builds to a sweet finale. His performance is a lesson book on bebop lines and how to use them.
But the quintet has much more to offer. Trumpet and flugelhorn player Jack Schantz, saxophonist Dave Sterner and pianist Mark Soskin are able to trade off roles. Schantz steps into the lead role most frequently, and his full tone and crafty phrases are first rate, playing a wonderful duet over the melody of the balladic "Warm Smile" with Sterner, before the solos cut in.
Several tracks highlight Soskin's chops, especially the up-tempo "Time Remembered," a piano-trio outing for him, and bassist Dean Johnson and Davis on drums. The nearly seven-minute track gives Soskin a chance to open up, which he does well.
Johnson and Davis seem ideally matched for a rhythm sectionthey're omnipresent in the music without overbearing the lead musicians. Davis' drumming on this bebop outing is more Philly Joe Jones than Art Blakey, sparing the rolls and bass hits but keeping a steady, swinging beat behind the band.
Come Right In is a sophomore effort for the N. Glenn Davis Quintet, and shows they have much to offer in future endeavors.
A Different Day; Come Right In; Fumba Rumba; Just a Tadd; Warm Smile; If You Could See Me Now; Wakin' Up Blues; Time Remembered; Alex's Song; Minor Backup.
N. Glenn Davis: drums; Phil Woods: alto saxophone (tracks 1,4 and 6); Dave Sterner: alto, soprano saxophones; Jack Schantz: trumpet, flugelhorn; Mark Soskin: piano; Dean Johnson: acoustic bass.
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