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The Bob Lark / Phil Woods Quintet: In Her Eyes

Edward Blanco By

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Dr. Bob Lark has just issued a new prescription for incurable jazz fanatics: full immersion in the music of In Her Eyes. The trumpeter and educator holds a Doctor of Musical Arts and serves as the chair of Jazz Studies at De Paul University in Chicago, where he teaches jazz trumpet and directs the university's Jazz Ensemble. Lark has performed with Clark Terry, Louie Bellson, Bobby Shew, Bob Brookmeyer and Tom Harrell, among others. On this recording he shares the limelight with an alto icon, Phil Woods—and if you're not faniliar with Woods, you don't know jazz. The quintet also features pianist Jim McNeely, bassist Steve Gilmore and drummer Bill Goodwin.

This is a serving of some good old fashioned straight-ahead jazz, including six new Lark compositions and four others, laced with excellent solos that are filled with energy and intensity. Lark plays trumpet on six tracks, flugekhorn on the others. His first shot on the flugelhorn is on the wonderful "Abruzzi," which features an enchanting melody and stylish solos by both Woods and Lark. Next comes the catchy, rhythm-based "Ravenswood," a rather lively and hip tune. The group goes south with the Latin jazz sounds of "Mad Dan's," showcasing a blazing sax solo from Woods followed by a moving trumpet chorus from Lark.

McNeely leads in on a nice piano intro to Lark's soft and relaxing eight-minute title piece, which is marked by back and forth choruses from both Woods and Lark. The rhythm section shows off on "Roatan" with impressive displays by McNeely, Gilmore and Goodwin. Phil Woods takes off on his "Bouquet Chorale," joined by McNeely's crisp run on piano and later engaged by Lark on flugelhorn. The Doctor is definitely in the house on the loud finale, "As A Lark"—which is full of solos from everyone except the bassist—making a screaming trumpet statement.

Bob Lark blows up a storm and altoist Phil Woods catches fire on this smoking quintet performance. Terrific new charts by Lark, combined with a supporting cast of legends and veterans, help make In Her Eyes a dish you'll want to sample often.

Track Listing: It's You Or No Me; Abruzzi; Ravenswood; Mad Dan's; In Her Eyes; Roatan; Charlie's Wig; Q's Delight; Bouquet Chorale; As A Lark.

Personnel: Bob Lark: trumpet, flugelhorn; Phil Woods: alto saxophone; Jim McNeely: piano; Steve Gilmore: bass; Bill Goodwin: drums.

Title: In Her Eyes | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Jazzed Media

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