All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

260

Mike LeDonne: FiveLive

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
How suitable that FiveLive should have been recorded at the New York City nightspot Smoke, as pianist Mike LeDonne's fiery quintet smokes from fore and aft and port to starboard throughout this pleasurable concert date. Of course, it's hard not to burn with trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander manning the front line while long-term teammates bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth provide the rhythmic power that drives the engine.

LeDonne, as splendid a composer as he is a soloist and accompanist, wrote three of the album's eight selections to complement Stevie Wonder's "You and I," Dizzy Gillespie's "Manteca," Cedar Walton's "Bleeker Street Theme," Duke Ellington's "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)" and Pelt's "Good Times." Ellington's plaintive ballad, on which LeDonne's graceful pianisms are rendered in a trio setting, marks one of two departures (the other is "You and I") from the group's buoyant, take-no-prisoners approach, which often calls to mind Art Blakey's peerless Jazz Messengers.

While LeDonne and Alexander confirm and reinforce one's assumptions, Pelt is the group's explicit eye-opener. Not only is his breezy "Good Times" one of the session's highlights, but he continues to mature as an improviser, readily holding his own with two unequivocal masters in LeDonne and Alexander. One assumes the other charts are LeDonne's, and felicitous touches abound, as on "Manteca," taken at a more leisurely pace than usual before ramping up to warp speed to accommodate blistering solos by Alexander and Pelt. On "You and I," the beauty of Wonder's melody is underscored by the ensemble and LeDonne's tasteful solo.

FiveLive presents a sharp and seasoned quintet in full cry with an enthusiastic (but well-behaved) audience hanging on its every note. As LeDonne writes, "This is the kind of record I've always wanted to make." It's also the kind that perceptive fans of contemporary jazz should want to hear.


Track Listing: Encounter; You and I; Hands; Good Times; Manteca; I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good); Little M; Bleeker Street Theme.

Personnel: Mike LeDonne: piano; Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone; Jeremy Pelt: trumpet; John Webber: bass; Joe Farnsworth: drums.

Title: FiveLive | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Savant Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
Read more articles
That Feelin'

That Feelin'

Savant Records
2016

buy
AwwlRight!

AwwlRight!

Savant Records
2015

buy
I Love Music

I Love Music

Savant Records
2014

buy
Keep the Faith

Keep the Faith

Savant Records
2011

buy
Mike LeDonne: The Groover

Mike LeDonne: The...

Savant Records
2010

buy
The Groover

The Groover

Savant Records
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read Der Dichter Spricht CD/LP/Track Review
Der Dichter Spricht
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Piano Works CD/LP/Track Review
Piano Works
by John Sharpe
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Throw Tomatoes CD/LP/Track Review
Throw Tomatoes
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Reflections 2 CD/LP/Track Review
Reflections 2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Charlie & Paul CD/LP/Track Review
Charlie & Paul
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 25, 2018
Read "Birdhoused" CD/LP/Track Review Birdhoused
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "The Subject Tonight Is Love" CD/LP/Track Review The Subject Tonight Is Love
by Jerome Wilson
Published: February 26, 2018
Read "Timeline" CD/LP/Track Review Timeline
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: April 5, 2018
Read "Hallways" CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "Marseille" CD/LP/Track Review Marseille
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 26, 2017
Read "I'll Tell You Later In December" CD/LP/Track Review I'll Tell You Later In December
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 4, 2017