163

Bob Lark / Phil Woods Quintet: In Her Eyes

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Bob Lark / Phil Woods Quintet: In Her Eyes In Her Eyes is the second trumpet-led album released by Jazzed Media on which the name Carl Saunders doesn't appear above the marquee. Graham Carter, the CEO at JM, is careful to choose trumpeters who won't suffer by comparison. The first was Marvin Stamm; this time it's Bob Lark, whose melodic trumpet and flugelhorn sing as beautifully as his name.

Lark, best known to this writer as the longtime director of the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble in Chicago, has chosen his partners carefully, too. He's backed by no less than the Phil Woods Quartet, with Woods on alto sax, Jim McNeely at the keyboard, Steve Gilmore on bass and Bill Goodwin at the drum kit. None of these gentlemen needs an introduction to Jazz fans anywhere, and Woods, now in his 74th year, is playing as marvelously as ever, as one hears immediately on the snappy opener, "It's You or No One, and every track thereafter.

Besides playing a persuasive horn, Lark shows he's a talented writer as well. Six of the well-drawn charts are his, with two others ("Q's Delight, "Bouquet Chorale ) by Woods and one ("Charlie's Wig ) by Charlie Parker, which, we're told, is the first tune by Bird ever recorded by Woods (and we'd love to hear more about how that happened). While each of Lark's themes is charming, I was especially drawn to "Roatan, a sunny West Indian swinger reminiscent of Sonny Rollins' "St. Thomas. Bird's breezy riff is pure bop with Woods paying his debt to the master and Lark countering with a Red Rodney/Conte Candoli-like statement on muted trumpet. McNeely, who is comfortable in any context from swing to avant-garde, adds an apposite solo of his own, as does Gilmore, before everyone trades half-choruses and eights with Goodwin.

The rest of the album offers more of the same, as Woods blows hot or cool, as the occasion demands, while Lark keeps pace on trumpet or flugelhorn. The sound is slightly weighted toward the rhythm section, but not enough to cause any distress. There's no problem hearing either Lark or Woods. That's good, as each of them is in superior form. I'd say that Woods keeps getting better with age save for the fact that he has been playing this well for about the last half-century, give or take a few years.

Woods' readiness to share top billing is an affirmation of his self-confidence and generosity, as the album could surely elicit more notice were it titled "The Phil Woods Quartet Featuring Bob Lark. But after hearing it, one should harbor no doubts that Lark deserves his share of the limelight. It's a co-op effort on which he, Woods and the rhythm section perform as equals. It's not easy to shine in such company, but Lark is unfazed by the challenge and presses his seasoned companions note for note.

This is one Lark whose song you must hear.

Visit Bob Lark on the web.


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


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Harlem CD/LP/Track Review Harlem
by James Nadal
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Black Diamond" CD/LP/Track Review Black Diamond
by Joe Gatto
Published: March 7, 2017
Read "Jojje Wadenius (70)" CD/LP/Track Review Jojje Wadenius (70)
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 9, 2016
Read "Windmills" CD/LP/Track Review Windmills
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Infinitude" CD/LP/Track Review Infinitude
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 31, 2016
Read "A Woman's Work..." CD/LP/Track Review A Woman's Work...
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "The Pauper And The Magician" CD/LP/Track Review The Pauper And The Magician
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 17, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.