Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

120

Kerry Strayer Septet featuring Gary Foster: Mentor

By

Sign in to view read count
There's much to admire in this album. Come to think of it, in the pre-Beatles world of music, about 45 years ago, the same sort of quality project was being produced on a regular basis. Kerry Strayer leads a septet, with Gary Foster in what the liner notes call "the great Kansas City jazz tradition." Inasmuch as Mr. Strayer is a native of Kansas City, I'm assuming that we're talking about Charlie Parker, Jay McShann, Count Basie and other legends who began there. However, from an orchestral arrangement vantage point, I would place the Strayer combo about 1,500 miles west of K.C.

The title of the album is a specific reference to reedman Gary Foster, with whom Strayer has been associated for several decades, having met in the mid '70s, reunited in the '80s and a continual friendship and working relationship. I had the pleasure of reviewing the Bill Cunliffe/Gary Foster date It's About Love a few months ago and am gratified that he's getting some long overdue plaudits now.

Strayer is a fine arranger and he incorporates a stimulating mix of standards, jazz standards and originals. His baritone sax playing is a descendant of Gerry Mulligan's own voice and Strayer, like Jeru, removes any harsh edges from his presentation. In fact, while most of the solos on this disc are short, Strayer's are limited and seemingly strategically placed. With his work on Strayhorn's "A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing" both melody and solo are things of beauty, but they are quickly gone, as is the case on several of the tunes.

Foster is a one-man sax section and although most of his cool and detached alto work is emphasized, he also is featured on flute for Clare Fischer's "Gaviota" and on clarinet for the Brubeck standard "In Your Own Sweet Way." Two long term members of Strayer's group, trombonist Earlie Braggs and trumpeter Barry Springer, bring lyricism and swing to their respective moments. Frank Mantooth's piano plays an large role in cementing the rhythm section and also providing lucid solos, as do bassist Bob Bowman and drummer Todd Strait. Gary Heim, as percussionist, lifts the two compositions that he appears on, "Gaviota" and especially David Torres' "Siempre Me Va Bien," providing a vital Latin pulse.

The tunes present a evenly flowing momentum, emphasizing Strayer's ability to add colorations that alternately show the beauty of the compostions and the shadings of the personnel. "Yardbird Suite," done as a flag-waver, reflects both the Parker tradition and the benefits of Strayer's charts. "Saturday 10AM" is a perfect opener that grabs your attention right from the start.


Track Listing: Saturday 10AM, Gaviota, A Flower is a Lovesome Thing, Sweet Lips, Siempre Me Va Bien, Don't Ask Why, Yardbird Suite, In Your Own Sweet Way, The Peacocks, I Hadn't Anyone Till You, Warne-ing.

Personnel: Kerry Strayer, baritone and soprano sax, all arrangements; Gary Foster, alto and tenor sax, clarinet, flute; Barry Springer,trumpet,flugelhorn; Earlie Braggs,trombone; Frank Mantooth,piano; Bob Bowman,bass; Todd Strait,drums; Gary Heim,percussion

Title: Mentor | Year Released: 2004

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Time for the Dancers" CD/LP/Track Review Time for the Dancers
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 30, 2017
Read "Glenn Gould in Russia: Bach, Beethoven, Berg, Webern, Krenek" CD/LP/Track Review Glenn Gould in Russia: Bach, Beethoven, Berg, Webern, Krenek
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me: The Micros Play the Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me: The Micros Play...
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Blow, Strike & Touch" CD/LP/Track Review Blow, Strike & Touch
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 24, 2017
Read "Two Hands, One Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Two Hands, One Heart
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 8, 2017
Read "Ellipse" CD/LP/Track Review Ellipse
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 4, 2017