All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
Bassist Avery Sharpe, a long-time collaborator with legendary pianist McCoy Tyner, releases Dragon Fly on his own JKNM Records. Joined by pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs, drummer Winard Harper, and two special guests, Chico Freeman and Jeri Brown, the album prominently features Sharpe's multiple skills as leader and soloist. The album's opening number, "Oh No!", sounds very much like Oscar Peterson's trio, with Gumbs' frenetic piano anchored nicely by Sharpe and Harper. The second tune, "Swingfield," a dedication to his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts, is a gentler melody with Brown's vocal accompaniment and Freeman's tenor work providing greater depth to the group's sound.
The title track begins and ends on a schizophrenic rhythm, with a much more focused and melodic center. The action is soothed yet again on "Protect Me," with Sharpe's bass work sounding very guitar-like and featured heavily upfront. A capable and delicate soloist, Sharpe finds specific spaces and certain moods that soothe as well as engage the mind. He allows himself several of these soloing features on Dragon Fly, as heard on "All About You," and "Sweet Georgia Brown." Pianist Gumbs and drummer Harper do similar wonders in supporting and maintaining the group's intricate motions.
Vocalist Jeri Brown enjoys a seamless integration into the group on "My Favorite Things," a song she captures with sultry finesse. She is also highlighted on the more percussive "Change." The album's remaining tunes, a slightly agitated "Now That's What I'm Talkin' About," post bop advancements with Freeman on "Evolution," and a multidimensional "Trilogy," are equally enjoyable.
Track Listing: Oh No!; Swingfield; Dragon Fly; Protect Me; Morning Glow; My Favorite Things; Now That's
What I'm Talkin' Bout; Evolution; All About You; Trilogy; Change; Sweet Georgia Brown.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.