223

Larry Willis: The Offering

John Barron By

Sign in to view read count
Larry Willis: The Offering New York native Larry Willis has had a distinguished career performing with artists as diverse as Jackie McLean, Blood, Sweat & Tears and Woody Shaw. Although he's not nearly as well known as he should be, the veteran pianist has established himself in the upper echelon of modern jazz recording artists. The Offering finds Willis in the all-star company of bassist Eddie Gomez, drummer Billy Drummond and, for three tunes, saxophonist Eric Alexander.

The six-note ostinato bass line on the title track sets Willis in high-flying motion, caressing the keys with stylish improvised flitters. The driving opener also features a boisterous drum solo by Drummond. "TD's Tune," Willis' bouncy minor theme allows Gomez to flex his creative muscles, resulting in a bass solo of astonishing lyricism.

The spacious, Latin-tinged "Alter Ego" segues nicely into the melancholic charm of Willis' "Ethiopia," a compositional high point of the disc. Willis' arrangement, featuring beautifully bowed passages for Gomez, is hauntingly lush.

Alexander demonstrates a soulful edge on the up-tempo "The Rock." His blistering tenor foray intensifies the proceedings and leads to charged up solo turns by Willis and Drummond. "Three-Four Movement" is a light-as-air waltz with a thick harmonic undercurrent, reminiscent of the recordings Gomez made with pianist Bill Evans in the 1970s.

Although "Theme from Star Trek" may seem like an odd choice for a jazz recording, the familiar theme lends itself surprisingly well to the swinging treatment exhibited here. The disc ends with a brief solo piano reading of Duke Ellington's "Melancholia," a poignant ending to session filled with moments of creative mastery.

Track Listing: The Offering; TD?s Tune; Alter Ego; Ethiopia; The Rock; Three-Four Movement; Theme From Star Trek; Melancholia.

Personnel: Larry Willis: piano; Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone (2, 5, 7); Eddie Gomez: bass; Billy Drummond: drums.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: HighNote Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read In the Still of the Night CD/LP/Track Review In the Still of the Night
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Zea CD/LP/Track Review Zea
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Asian Fields Variations CD/LP/Track Review Asian Fields Variations
by John Kelman
Published: May 21, 2017
Read Left Right Left CD/LP/Track Review Left Right Left
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Some Great Songs Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Some Great Songs Vol. 2
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 6, 2017
Read "A Room of One's Own" CD/LP/Track Review A Room of One's Own
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "Enter the PlusTet" CD/LP/Track Review Enter the PlusTet
by Troy Collins
Published: October 23, 2016
Read "Syzygy" CD/LP/Track Review Syzygy
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "Alpha Nebula Expanded: The Monster Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Alpha Nebula Expanded: The Monster Peace
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 17, 2016
Read "The Long Road" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Road
by Troy Collins
Published: November 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, and provide read access to our future articles.