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Richard Simon: Pacific Standard Time

Jack Bowers By

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If one harbors any doubt that there is life after seventy (or even eighty!) — and an abundance of swinging Jazz to be produced by those who’ve reached those plateaus — he or she need only listen attentively to bassist Richard Simon’s Pacific Standard Time to erase any such misgivings. While Simon himself is a (relatively) young whippersnapper, his guests — guitarist Al Viola and reedman Sam Most — are eighty–three and seventy–one, respectively, and weren’t much younger when PST was recorded for an appreciative audience in Southern California. Time, Pacific Standard or otherwise, seems to have done little to impair these venerable masters who play with the kind of fire and enthusiasm that one usually associates with young lions, not senior citizens. As Dr. Billy Taylor says — and the Dr. knows best — “music keeps us young.” Maybe not in every case, but certainly in this one. If Viola or Most has lost a step or two it’s not readily apparent here; if one didn’t know their ages he (or she) would surely never guess them by listening to what is presented here. Even Most’s husky voice (he sings and scats on Bobby Troup’s “Route 66,” sings again on the appropriately chosen “As Time Goes By”) is deceptively boyish and nimble. Most plays flute on “Avalon,” “Lullaby of the Leaves,” “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise” and “That’s All,” clarinet on “It Could Happen to You” and “As Time Goes By,” alto sax on “My Romance” and what sounds like alto flute on “Green Dolphin Street,” and is excellent on each of them. Viola is smooth and melodious with a crystalline sound and remarkable technique that belie his eighty–plus birthdays. Simon takes few solos, focusing instead on supporting his companions and helping to make them sound even better, which he does consistently. A wonderful concert performance by three gentlemen who have been around the block many times but aren’t ready to stop walkin’ yet.

Contact: UFO Bass, P.O. Box 661777, Los Angeles, CA 90066. Web site, www.ufo–bass.com

Track Listing: Avalon; It Could Happen to You; Lullaby of the Leaves; Route 66; On Green Dolphin Street; My Romance; Softly as in a Morning Sunrise; As Time Goes By; That

Personnel: Sam Most, flute, saxophone, clarinet, vocals; Al Viola, guitar; Richard Simon, bass.

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: UFO Bass | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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