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Buster Williams: Crystal Reflections

Douglas Payne By

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Bassist Buster Williams is well featured here on this pretty, interesting set from 1976, his second disc as a leader. Crystal Reflections concentrates on exploratory duets with keyboardist Kenny Barron (the exceptional Barron original, "The Enchanted Flower"), pianist Jimmy Rowles (two versions of "I Dream Too Much") and vibraphonist Roy Ayers ("My Funny Valentine").

Elsewhere, Williams combines with Barron, Ayers and drummer Billy Hart for three impressionistic pieces: William's sensitive "Prism," Cole Porter's "I Love You" and Roy Ayers's Spyro Gyra-like "Vibrations." Even when Williams overdubs synthesizer and female voices overtop "Prism" or when Roy Ayers doubles up on sythn for "Virgo," the effect is sensitively considered and the result is quite a positive contribution to the success of each piece.

This set is much more likely to appeal to fans of Kenny Barron, Jimmy Rowles or Roy Ayers. But bassist Williams proves himself a worthy leader here. He's a sympathetic, melodic player whose perceptive and intuitive string work is often simple and effective, never showy and very much a beneficial part of the whole. Like the title suggests, this is music that is as pretty as it is intelligent. Recommended.

Personnel: Buster Williams: bass, synthesizer; Kenny Barron: piano, electric piano; Jimmy Rowles: piano; Roy Ayers: vibes, synthesizer; Billy Hart: drums; Nobu Urushiyama: percussion; Suzanne Klewan: voice.

Tracks:Prism; The Enchanted Flower; I Love You; I Dream Too Much; Vibrations; My Funny Valentine; I Dream Too Much.

| Record Label: 32 Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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