There are albums that seem to warrant physical engagement on the part of the listener. It is that sort of a music-listener dynamic where a long joyride or easy walk while enjoying the sounds is in order. By its very title Strollin'
gives it all away here. And, it's no secret: this is take- it-along-and-enjoy-it music.
A highly-collaborative and very tasty effort, Strollin'
has the "L and M boys" offering up seven tasty original compositions that are framed by four classic jazz standards. All eleven tracks are terrific. Charlie Parker
's "Yardbird Suite" kicks things off with a straight-ahead foray into bop. Horace Silver
's "Strollin'" is an easy swinger with Meurkens leading the way and with some neat comping from Monaco and Lucas. Fine solos from all follow in tow. "Happy Sergio" is a go-lucky bossa with joyful, spirited rides.
The B-3, guitar and harmonica format certainly lends itself to a swing groove, but the ballads here are terrific as well. For example, Meurkens delivers an emotionally blue statement on "You Don't Know What Love Is" and is elegant on Thad Jones
' "A Child is Born." As for their respective composition chops, Lucas's textural "A Room Above," Monaco's up-tempo "Rhythm" burner, "Aglio and Olio" (with a fine Lucas solo pouring it on) and Meurkens' "Mundell's Mood" and "Mean Dog Blues" are terrific melodies, each allowing for extended solo work from all. And all certainly shine in that regard.
Each of these fine artists gets a chance to strut their stuff across the session. Monaco, always a soulful swinger in the best Jimmy Smith
tradition, Meurkens, drawing comparisons to the Master, Toots Thielemans
, but certainly his own man, and Lucas being inventive and swinging. Drummer Reid Hoyson, the epitome of taste behind the set, drives this bus in great style. Strollin'
is quite a fun date. Take her hand and head off smiling.
Yardbird Suite; A Room Above; Strollin'; You Don't Know What Love Is; Mundell's Mood; Happy
Sergio; A Child Is Born; Aglio e Olio; Slidin'; Roz Da Cat; Mean Dog Blues.