313

James Spaulding: Round To It!

Brandt Reiter By

Sign in to view read count
James Spaulding: Round To It! High quality hard bop from one of the pillars of the music.

Master alto saxophonist and flutist James Spaulding has been an A-list sideman since the late fifties, when he worked frequently with Sun Ra. During the sixties he could be found on countless Blue Note recordings, lending invaluable support to such legendary artists as Wayne Shorter, Bobby Hutcherson, and Freddie Hubbard. (The Joe Chambers ballad "Mirrors," from Hubbard's 1964 release Breaking Point, in which Spaulding's delicate flute inseparably twines with Hubbard's plaintive trumpet, stands as one the high water marks of the hard bop era.) However, since the Queens-based Spaulding has spent the greater part of his career backing rather than leading, he's never become the household name he so richly deserves to be.

The full title of Spaulding's new release is Round To It!—Live at Up Over Jazz Café—Speetones Vol. 2, and as the name indicates, it's the second release from a live gig recorded (in 2000) at the titular Brooklyn jazz club. It's a quintet date, with Spaulding leading four first-rate players through a set of seven lengthy original compositions: four by Spaulding, two by the date's hot tenor and soprano saxophonist, Dan Faulk, and one by its pianist, Isaac ben Ayala. (Bassist Eric Lemon and drummer Reggie Nicholson round out the band.)

Kicking off with Spaulding's bluesy, gospel-flavored "Hurry Home, the musicians make it immediately clear that they're not fooling around—this band is tight, primed and ready—and when Spaulding rips into his first solo with that trademark raw-boned sound, it practically lifts you off your seat. Spaulding, in fact, sounds terrific all the way through and on both axes; his alto playing is fierce and free, and his gorgeous, limpid flute is still achingly expressive (particularly so on the contemplative "Time To Go, a Spaulding tribute to Martin Luther King first recorded on the 1968 Bobby Hutcherson classic Patterns). And the rest of the band hangs with him, with the well-matched Faulk particularly compelling throughout.

This is hard bop played as it always should be: with passion, fire, generosity, and profound intelligence. For those less familiar with Spaulding, it's a great place to begin; for the more experienced hard bop listener, it's proof positive that his music remains as vital as ever.


Track Listing: Hurray Home; Journey East; Gentle Spirit; Ancestral Chant; Jubilee; Time To Go; New World Coming.

Personnel: James Spaulding: alto saxophone, flute; Dan Faulk: tenor and soprano saxophone; Issac ben Ayala: piano; Eric Lemon: bass; Reggie Nicholson: drums.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Speetones | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Solo Plus" CD/LP/Track Review Solo Plus
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 4, 2016
Read "Further Explorations" CD/LP/Track Review Further Explorations
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 23, 2016
Read "Star-Spangled Voltage" CD/LP/Track Review Star-Spangled Voltage
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 5, 2016
Read "Continuum" CD/LP/Track Review Continuum
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 31, 2016
Read "Jim Crow's Tears" CD/LP/Track Review Jim Crow's Tears
by James Nadal
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "All Terrain Guitar" CD/LP/Track Review All Terrain Guitar
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 31, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!