Pianist Eric Reed soars to towering heights with this uplifting and altogether superior new release, featuring fellow “Wynton Marsalis Group” constituents; trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, alto saxophonist Wessell Anderson and other jazz sharpshooters, as this eleven-piece outfit delivers the goods in rather explosive fashion. No doubt, Reed possesses enviable chops, yet his concoction of cleverly organized motifs and complexly swinging arrangements offer a trickle of fresh air to a sometimes languid or floundering, modern-day post-Bop scene. With, “Three Dances: Island Grind - Latin Bump - Boogie Down”, Reed perpetuates articulately crafted and tightly integrated Bop grooves amid blazing Bud Powell-like right hand movements, rhythmically charged block chords and roaring cadenzas.
Essentially, the group kicks up a storm via Reed’s dazzling, big band style horn arrangements. However, the musicians’ chart a disparate course via the mid-tempo, rollicking and rolling R&B-drenched piece titled, “Suite Sisters: Fine & Brown”, whereas Reed’s stride piano intro to “Romantic Rag” launches a series of alternating themes and flows, including subtle nods to March-master John Phillip Sousa and Duke Ellington. Meanwhile, “Devil In A Dress” boasts a pungent Afro-Cuban vibe to coincide with the musicians’ well-placed enunciations and cheery sentiment. Needless to state, Happiness is an impassioned celebration of the musical spirit and other than a bit of much deserved fanfare, the musicians’ also propagate an idyllic perspective throughout. Strongly recommended - (Top Ten pick for 2001).
Track Listing: Happiness; Three Dances: - Boogie Down - Latin Bump - Boogie Down; Say You Care; Suite Sisters: Fine & Brown; Suite Sisters: Crazy Red; Suite Sisters: Black Beauty; Mood Indigo; Romantic Rag; Devil In A Dress; Someone Else
Personnel: Eric Reed; piano: Marcus Printup; trumpet: Mike Rodriguez; trumpet: Wycliffe Gordon; trombone: Dion Tucker; trombone: Wessell Anderson; alto saxophone: Julius Tolentino; alto saxophone: Wayne Escoffery; tenor & alto saxophones: Walter Blanding Jr.; clarinet: Barak Mori; bass: Rodney Green; drums: Renato Thoms; percussion
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!