All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

152

Fred Randolph: Learning Curve

By

Sign in to view read count
Fred Randolph's Learning Curve is heavy on tribute songs. The bassist/composer pays homage to Michael Brecker, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, and pianist Art Hirahara, who joins him on the disc. But while Randolph does manage to suggest a Brecker Brothers tune, an aggressive yet catchy Mingus number and a journey into Trane's spiritual side, the real joys of this album have little to do with tributes.

The collaborative work of trumpeter Don Beck and tenor saxophonist Rob Roth is at the heart of the disc's success. Blending beautifully when playing together and delivering effortless, intriguing solos on their own, Beck and Roth quietly dominate Learning Curve. One of the album's highlights is "Churchy Tune," which brings Beck and Roth's connection to the fore and also features a Hammond organ solo by Michael Bluestein that manages to both embrace and expand the traditional sound of the organ in the bluesy church tradition.

Randolph's own skills are best demonstrated on "Secret Garden," the only track on which he plays fretless bass. His funky vibe is brought to the forefront of this upbeat number and works well with the shiny tone of soprano saxophonist Mike Zilber. Beck and Roth sit this one out, which changes the dynamic, but "Secret Garden" is still a standout tune.

The disc closes with "Pua Lilia," a traditional Hawaiian song performed as a duet by Randolph and Hirahara. It seems an odd ending to a disc of originals performed by a larger ensemble, but the lyrical piece gives Randolph another opportunity to shine. The piece brings Learning Curve to a satisfying end.


Track Listing: 1. I Wonder Why (for Michael Brecker) 2. Windward Side 3. Churchy Tune 4. Learning Curve 5. The Longest Time 6. Secret Garden 7. A's Vamp (for Art Hirahara) 8. In Honor of (for Charles Mingus) 9. Homage to Trane (for John Coltrane) 10. Nature of the Beast 11. Pua Lilia (Traditional Hawaiian)

Personnel: Fred Randolph: acoustic fretless bass, acoustic bass; Art Hirahara: acoustic piano; Tim Bulkley: drums, rain stick; Rob Roth: tenor sax; Don Beck: trumpet; Mike Zilber: soprano sax; Michael Bluestein: Hammond organ; Bryan Bowman: tabla; Michaelle Goerlitz: percussion

Title: Learning Curve | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Creative Spirit Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Song Without Singing

Song Without Singing

Creative Spirit Records
2015

buy
New Day

New Day

Creative Spirit Records
2007

buy
New Day

New Day

Creative Spirit Records
2006

buy
Learning Curve

Learning Curve

Creative Spirit Records
2004

buy

Related Articles

Read Seymour Reads The Constitution! CD/LP/Track Review
Seymour Reads The Constitution!
by Doug Collette
Published: May 23, 2018
Read Colours of Sound CD/LP/Track Review
Colours of Sound
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 23, 2018
Read A Blast From The Past CD/LP/Track Review
A Blast From The Past
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 23, 2018
Read Rhapsody CD/LP/Track Review
Rhapsody
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2018
Read You're Driving Me Crazy CD/LP/Track Review
You're Driving Me Crazy
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 23, 2018
Read Dirt...And More Dirt CD/LP/Track Review
Dirt...And More Dirt
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 22, 2018
Read "Two" CD/LP/Track Review Two
by Joe Gatto
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "Live In Europe" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Europe
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 3, 2018
Read "The Spirit Of Piteşti" CD/LP/Track Review The Spirit Of Piteşti
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 17, 2017
Read "Thick As Thieves" CD/LP/Track Review Thick As Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "Baby Talk" CD/LP/Track Review Baby Talk
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 14, 2017
Read "On Parade In Parede" CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017