All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

184

Larry Vuckovich: Somethin' Special

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Pianist Larry Vuckovich made his recording debut as a leader with Blue Balkan (Inner City Records, 1980), although his playing career began in the '50s, after he arrived in the United States from his native Yugoslavia as a teenager. His recorded output as a leader has been relatively sparse—around a dozen albums—but he's carved out a successful career as a sideman, most notably in a 25-year relationship with singer Jon Hendricks.

On Somethin' Special, Vuckovich and his regular East Coast rhythm section of bassist Paul Keller and drummer Chuck McPherson are joined by saxophonists Scott Hamilton and Noel Jewkes. The repertoire comes mainly from bop composers such as Horace Silver, Tadd Dameron and Sonny Clark, with Vuckovich adding two of his own tunes to the list. Vuckovich has a light touch, which he uses to deliver some sparklingly delicate solos—his unaccompanied rendition of Thelonious Monk's "Pannonica" is especially lovely—and which eminently suits the role of rhythm section player in support of his guest saxophonists.

Hamilton is probably the best-known and most prolific recording artist on this date, and while he's not known as a bop player, his talent and ability ensure that he sounds immediately comfortable with the tunes, right from his opening solo on Clark's "Somethin' Special." Jewkes, based in the San Francisco area, has a slightly fatter, funkier tone than Hamilton on tenor, ably demonstrated by his superb playing on Silver's "Enchantment." His soprano on Vuckovich's "Loving Linda," is crystal clear and shows exceptional lyricism.

The key tune on Somethin' Special is Dexter Gordon's "Cheese Cake." One of three tunes that feature all five players, it's also the longest track at just over nine minutes, and gives all members of the quintet a chance to stretch out. Hamilton and Jewkes sound like they've been playing partners for years, while Keller and McPherson both add punchy solos.

Somethin' Special is a lovely album, beautifully performed. Vuckovich has selected a set of tunes that includes some unjustly unfamiliar numbers, and Hamilton and Jewkes add grace and sensitivity to the excellent playing of the central trio.

Track Listing: Somethin' Special; Enchantment; What Will I Tell My Heart?; Comin' Home Baby; Soultrane; How Insensitive; Pannonica; Cheese Cake; Loving Linda; Zeljko's Blues; Star Dust.

Personnel: Larry Vuckovich: piano; Paul Keller: bass; Chuck McPherson: drums; Noel Jewkes: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone (1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9); Scott Hamilton: tenor saxophone (1, 3, 4, 6, 8).

Title: Somethin' Special | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Tetrachord Music

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Somethin' Special

Somethin' Special

Tetrachord Music
2011

buy
High Wall: A Real Life Film Noir

High Wall: A Real...

Tetrachord Music
2008

buy
Street Scene

Street Scene

Tetrachord Music
2007

buy
Street Scene

Street Scene

Tetrachord Music
2006

buy
Reunion

Reunion

Tetrachord Music
2004

buy
Blue Balkan: Then and Now

Blue Balkan: Then and...

Tetrachord Music
2002

buy

Related Articles

Read Alive In The East? CD/LP/Track Review
Alive In The East?
by Chris May
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Love Stone CD/LP/Track Review
Love Stone
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Empty Castles CD/LP/Track Review
Empty Castles
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Myths and Morals CD/LP/Track Review
Myths and Morals
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 22, 2018
Read The Sum Of My Pardon CD/LP/Track Review
The Sum Of My Pardon
by Jim Olin
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Postcard Collection CD/LP/Track Review
Postcard Collection
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 21, 2018
Read "The Spirit Of Piteşti" CD/LP/Track Review The Spirit Of Piteşti
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 17, 2017
Read "A Humdrum Star" CD/LP/Track Review A Humdrum Star
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 9, 2018
Read "Lux" CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "Lighthouse" CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 15, 2017
Read "Mandala" CD/LP/Track Review Mandala
by Samuel Stroup
Published: December 20, 2017
Read "Solo Violin" CD/LP/Track Review Solo Violin
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 18, 2018