Saxophonist Charles Davis' paean to his late wife, For the Love of Lori
, is more of a musical celebration of her spirit than a requiem. Sure, there are moments of intense sorrow and nostalgic melancholy but they are enveloped in positive, swinging creativity.
On "What'll I Do?" for instance, Davis' wistful soliloquy is filled with reserved anguish and enveloped with elegant lyricism. Trumpeter Joe Magnarelli
's muted, soothing tone marks his intricate improvisation while trombonist Steve Davis
' soft, resonant lines add a somber edge to the piece.
Equally poetic yet up-tempo and jubilant are Steve Davis' delightfully complex boppish stylings on "Juliano." The tune features the leader's warm, thick tenor with the right touch of vibrato and Magnarelli's melodic, bright horn that soars over the loosely swinging rhythm section. Bluish hues color Pianist Rick Germanson
's crisp, chiming cascade of notes.
Germanson shines on "Cedar's Blues" penned as a tribute to recently departed pianist Cedar Walton
whose seat Germanson aptly fills for this session. Germanson opens with tightly woven harmonic tapestry that highlights his agility, sense of humor and intelligent spontaneity. The track is quintessential hard bop, harking back to the golden days of the Blue Note label with dramatic exchanges and clever instrumental monologues. Bassist David Williams
' soulful and virtuosic solo ushers in the concluding restatement of the head.
Williams' pensive reverberations and drummer Neal Smith
's sparkling cymbals and soft, caressing thrums buoy Germanson's nocturnesque pianism on the title track. The heartfelt and plaintive ballad shimmers with a forlorn beauty particularly as Charles Davis takes his turn in the spotlight with an intimate and expressive extemporization.
Smith's primal, percussive beats set the mood for the mystical and cinematic "Into The Himalayas." Charles Davis' serpentine saxophone brings a sense of intrigue to the music that his sidemen subsequently enhance with their adlib, stimulating phrases.
This is not a ground breaking, innovative album and it does not claim to be one. It is a refreshingly honest and genuinely passionate tribute to a lost love and an affirmative commemoration of her life.