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 Cot
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: sheker
The best show I ever attended was the Zawinul Syndicate at the Blue Note in 1997. Being the youngest kids in the room, the host put us right in front of the band. The afro-beat electric set blew the roof off the building, an unforgettable sound
The best show I ever attended was the Zawinul Syndicate at the Blue Note in 1997. Being the youngest kids in the room, the host put us right in front of the band. The afro-beat electric set blew the roof off the building, an unforgettable sound. After, my girlfriend and I just sauntered up the stairs to the green room to meet the
band. I posed for a picture with Joe, after talking a little bit about boxing and how to stay healthy while the other guys in the band tore through a bucket of fried