Is it acceptable to label a musical recording as "delicious"? If so, it describes bassist George DeLancey's sophomore release Paradise. He presents eight compositions, half from his pen and the remaining from Oscar Pettiford, John Lewis, Thelonious Monk, and Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein. The eight tracks, none of which tops five minutes, are well balanced with solos commensurate with that concept.
Delancey is a young man (b.1988) with a very old soul. His music brings to mind the aforementioned Pettiford's grace and Charles Mingus' aspirations to be heir to the Duke Ellington legacy. Like a great chef (food analogy alert) he adds just the right ingredients in the proper proportions. It is easy to recognize this mentor, Rodney Whitaker's influence here. He takes the Modern Jazz Quartet's waltz "Skating In Central Park" as a gentle round-and-round spin with Tadataka Unno's piano and Jonathan Beshay's clarinet decorating the affair, with the elegance consistent with the original recording. Delancey has the gift for writing and more importantly arranging music to fit his players i.e. the ingredients. The swift bebop of "Bohemia After Dark" is economically condensed, as if all the fat is trimmed but the music flavored with Mike Sailor's trumpet, Caleb Wheeler Curtis' alto saxophone, Unno's piano, Lawrence Leather's drums and Delancey's bass.
There is joy evident in this work throughout. The band speeds through Monk's "Locomotive," with a Pepper Adams-like baritone saxophone solo by Tony Lustig that spills into more flavored solos by bandmates. Delancey's "While I Was Away" presents a creamy arco bass played over a supple arrangement of horns. The disc ends with a small-big band (10-piece) arrangement of "All The Things You Are." Let's hope this is a hint of larger things to come? Because George Delancey serves gourmet food without the gastronomic pretensions.
Paradise; Bohemia After Dark; To Another Girl; Skating in Central Park; Alone Time; Locomotive; While I Was Away; All The Things You Are.
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