188

Steve Smith and Buddy's Buddies: Steve Smith and Buddy's Buddies

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
Drummer Steve Smith, of Journey and Steps Ahead fame, leads a quintet featuring Buddy Rich alumni through a set of jazz charts. Coming from 80s rock and fusion, Smith tends toward flash and heavy-handedness (like Rich himself, some would say). Add Anthony Jackson on electric bass and you have a rhythm section that sounds like what it is: fusion cats trying to swing. Tenor man Steve Marcus, altoist Andy Fusco, and pianist Lee Musiker, respectable soloists all, sound a little hampered under these circumstances.

The high-octane numbers include Horace Silver’s "Nutville," Sonny Rollins’s "Airegin," Coltrane’s "Moment’s Notice," and Sammy Nestico’s "Ya Gotta Try." The energy is all there, but it just doesn’t swing as it would with a straight-ahead rhythm section. Missing is the light touch that distinguishes even the most burning swing. "Moment’s Notice" comes closest to succeeding—the soloists handle the difficult tune well and the head arrangement contains a few surprises.

"You Stepped Out of a Dream" and "Cool" (from West Side Story) are decent trio features for Fusco’s alto and Musiker’s piano, respectively. "Norwegian Wood," by The Beatles, is a Coltrane rip-off. "New Blues," a slower minor-key swing tune, puts the rhythm section in a better light. And Michel LeGrand’s "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" features fine tenor work by Marcus, who manages to transcend to the cocktail-hour pleasantness of the arrangement.

| Record Label: Tone Center | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Heavy Feel" CD/LP/Track Review Heavy Feel
by Doug Collette
Published: May 21, 2016
Read "Crowded Solitudes" CD/LP/Track Review Crowded Solitudes
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 6, 2016
Read "Intersection" CD/LP/Track Review Intersection
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 9, 2016
Read "Jim Crow's Tears" CD/LP/Track Review Jim Crow's Tears
by James Nadal
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "Sketches on the Radio" CD/LP/Track Review Sketches on the Radio
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 14, 2016
Read "The Picasso Zone" CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017

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!