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Bassist Gregg August's pedigree is hard bop, and his trademark compositions have heads that examine every harmonic and melodic possibility and are almost stories unto themselves. His sextet recently played a lively set at New York's Fat Cat, and a few of the tunes they performed are featured on August's new album, the somewhat self-titled Late August.
"Sweet Maladie opens with a hard bop head, then shifts into a robust Latin groove. Donny McCaslin takes a strong solo on tenor, as does the leader on plucked bass. Guest stars Wilson "Chembo Corniel (shekere) and the peerless Ray Barretto (congas) supply the percussive drive. The arrangement of "Four Two K takes a bit long to get to the point, but McCaslin's soul-searching, crisp tenor solo and John Bailey soaring trumpet make it worth the wait. On "M's Blues, pianist Alon Yavnai plays with a clarity and melodic style that owes a lot to McCoy Tyner. Alto sax man Myron Walden stole the show at Fat Cat with an extended a capella passage where he squeezed the guts out of each note. On this tune he's not nearly as strident, but he still plays with inventiveness and muscularity.
On "Melody in Black and Grey, another Latin-influenced tune with a Trane-ish tension in the head, Walden and Yavnai have a nice dialogue, then McCaslin and Bailey pick up the conversation. August's amplified yet dolorous solo arco on the luminous "Eulogy feels as though it belongs in a medieval church. The leader reduces the group from a sextet to a quartet for "Deceptions, featuring John Hart on guitar, Quincy Davis on drums, and the fabulous Frank Wess on tenor sax. Wess' solo is playful and joyous, and Hart displays blistering chops on his axe. The core group returns to end this rock-solid disc with "Work In Progress, a tune in an Ellington-meets-Blakey vein.
Track Listing: Sweet Maladie; Four Two K; M's Blues; Treatments in Darkness;Los Dos CotÚs; Melody in
Black and Grey; Eulogy; Deceptions; Work In Progress.
Personnel: Gregg August: bass;
John Bailey: trumpet;
Myron Walden: alto saxophone;
Donny McCaslin: tenor saxophone;
Alon Yavnai: piano;
Eric McPhearson: drums;
Ray Barretto: congas;
Wilson "Chembo" Corniel: shekerť;
Frank Wess: tenor saxophone (8);
John Hart: guitar (8);
Quincy Davis: drums (8).
I was first exposed to jazz when I was studying at the University of Puerto Rico. Nearby, I found a little record shop where the music coming from the store (Taller de Jazz Don Pedro) made me stop. I walked down the short stairs and towards the music and learned that the music playing was Clifford Brown and Max Roach
I was first exposed to jazz when I was studying at the University of Puerto Rico. Nearby, I found a little record shop where the music coming from the store (Taller de Jazz Don Pedro) made me stop. I walked down the short stairs and towards the music and learned that the music playing was Clifford Brown and Max Roach. I fell in love with it. I wondered around until the owner (Pedro Soto) asked if I needed help. He then introduced me to John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan and the rest is history. I walked out of the store with my first jazz recording: Clifford Brown and Max Roach at Basin Street.