Leon Lee Dorsey: Thank You Mr. Mabern!

Mike Jurkovic By

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Leon Lee Dorsey: Thank You Mr. Mabern!
He's studied classical double bass with Ron Carter and he's played alongside many of our most revered, among them Lionel Hampton, Art Blakey, andCassandra Wilson. Still, bassist/composer/arrangerLeon Lee Dorsey's name doesn't roll off everyone lips when discussing the top ranks of today's foremost, fearless bassists. But here's breaking news: Dorsey's got himself one hell of a rakin' and scrapin' new album spotlighting, God bless his good heart, the late Harold Mabern, sitting in two months before his passing in September 2019.

Thank You, Mr. Mabern! has all the precocious virtuosity and ramped up oomph to steal you away from vaccine watch. It's jammin' like them old discs that got us here. All that's missing from this zesty set is a live vibe, the welcome sound of people gathering, flirting, making plans; boppin' to the beat, waiting for a drink. Living, in other words.

Grooving like they're all back in their twenties and rough housing through the clubs, Dorsey, Mabern and drummer Mike Clark play it tight and loose between the ditches. Mabern steers, (a move we should abundantly thank Mr. Dorsey for), and rolls us via Memphis on his own rollicking "Rakin' and Scrapin'" and a rousingly soulful joy ride through Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man." New Orleans looms on a tumbling take on Fats Domino's "I'm Walkin.'" "Softly, As a Morning Sunrise" is a cutting party in K.C. as Dorsey shines the light on himself for a moment. Add "Misty," "Simone," an effortlessly hummable "Bye Bye Blackbird," a robust tangle through "Summertime," and John Coltrane's "Moments Notice" and Thank You, Mr. Mabern! leaves you hoping there's outtakes and alternate versions out there.

And hope is a damn good thing.

Track Listing

Rakin’ and Scrapin’; Simone; Bye Bye Blackbird; Summertime; ’m Walkin; Softly As A Morning Sunrise; Misty; Moment’s Notice.


Leon Lee Dorsey: bass, acoustic; Harold Mabern: piano; Mike Clark: drums.

Album information

Title: Thank You Mr. Mabern! | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Jazz Avenue 1

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