Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

205

Avery Sharpe: Legends and Mentors

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Over the last three decades bassist Avery Sharpe has been a stalwart sideman to some of the biggest names in jazz. Legends and Mentors is an homage to three of his closest colleagues, pianist McCoy Tyner and saxophonists Archie Shepp and Yusef Lateef.

As McCoy Tyner's principle bassist for the past 20 years, Sharpe has appeared on over twenty records with the pianist. Recording extensively with Yusef Lateef in the 1990s, he made his recording debut with Archie Shepp in 1979 on Attica Blues Big Band (Impulse!).

Seminal veterans of the 1960s New Thing, the dedicatees share a similar aesthetic sensibility in their work, each embodying varying degrees of spirituality, Afro-Latin elements and the avant-garde.

Sharpe assembled a nimble quintet with longstanding ties for this project. Violinist John Blake and saxophonist Joe Ford both served alongside the leader in Tyner's groups, while pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs and drummer Winard Harper are regular members of Sharpe's trio.

Dividing the nine track album into thirds, Sharpe presents an original composition dedicated to each honoree and two signature covers culled from their respective discographies.

Driven by a hip bass ostinato, "Big Mac" opens the album on a joyous note, employing subtle re-arrangements of Tyner-esque harmonies and intervals. The understated Bossa Nova of Tyner's romantic "Ballad For Aisha," spotlights a quietly intense solo from the leader. A rousing Latin anthem, "Fly With The Wind" elicits soaring statements from Blake and Ford, fueled by a sparkling rhythm section.

Dedicated to Shepp, "The Chief (Bro. Shepp)" saunters along majestically, simmering with an undercurrent of energy that climaxes with Sharpe's fret slapping bass solo. Shepp's classic jazz waltz "Steam," is given a gorgeous reading by Ford on soprano, while the visceral "Ujamma" is delivered at a blistering pace, pushed into the red by Harper's explosive drumming.

Ending the album with an exotic Afro-spiritual patina, "Gentle Giant (Bro. Lateef)" unveils a haunting meditation in 6/4 based on a 5 note Rwandan pygmy scale, featuring Ford's ghostly flute. Lateef's "Morning" offers a jaunty percussive respite before the closing frenzy of "Because They Love Me," a riotous testimonial unfurling with fervent declarations from all.

Sharpe does his teachers proud on Legends and Mentors. Reworking some of the most influential jazz compositions of the Post-War years with subtle invention, he proves that contemporary musicians needn't ignore the past to make inroads for the future.

Track Listing: Mac; Ballad For Aisha; Fly With The Wind; The Chief (Bro. Shepp); Steam; Ujamma; Gentle Giant (Bro. Lateef); Morning; Because They Love Me.

Personnel: Avery Sharpe: acoustic bass; John Blake: violin; Joe Ford: alto and soprano saxophone, flute; Onaje Allan Gumbs: piano; Winard Harper: drums.

Title: Legends and Mentors | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: JKNM Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Running Man

Running Man

JKNM Records
2011

buy
Live

Live

JKNM Records
2010

buy
Autumn Moonlight

Autumn Moonlight

JKNM Records
2009

buy
Legends and Mentors

Legends and Mentors

JKNM Records
2008

buy
Legends & Mentors

Legends & Mentors

JKNM Records
2008

buy
Dragon Fly

Dragon Fly

JKNM Records
2005

buy

Upcoming Shows

Related Articles

Read Poems For Orchestra Album Reviews
Poems For Orchestra
By Friedrich Kunzmann
April 26, 2019
Read We Are On The Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration Album Reviews
We Are On The Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
By Mark Corroto
April 25, 2019
Read Golem Dance Album Reviews
Golem Dance
By Friedrich Kunzmann
April 25, 2019
Read New Jazz Standards, Vol. 4 Album Reviews
New Jazz Standards, Vol. 4
By Dan Bilawsky
April 24, 2019
Read Open Form For Society Album Reviews
Open Form For Society
By Mark Corroto
April 24, 2019
Read Yes Album Reviews
Yes
By John Sharpe
April 24, 2019
Read Avec le temps Album Reviews
Avec le temps
By Mark Sullivan
April 23, 2019