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Reuben Rogers: The Things I Am

Ken Franckling By

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For Reuben Rogers' first recording as a leader, the versatile, St. Thomas-native bassist brought together several of the top musicians with whom—or for whom—he has worked regularly. They include Joshua Redman, Nicholas Payton, Greg Hutchinson, Mark Whitfield and Ron Blake (who also co-produced this effort).

The ballad "Anorev, which Rogers wrote for his mother Verona, shimmers with Blake's tenor work and guitarist David Gilmore's delicate sonic background. There is an intimate conversation of sorts between Rogers and Mark Whitfield on the Ray Brown tribute "Ting for Ray —it's as if they're telling stories about the bass legend over a bass line that is warm, solid and humorous, just as his were. Rogers' skillful solo interlude version of Sonny Rollins' classic "St. Thomas is a nod toward home.

Goldberg wrote (and plays Rhodes on) "Shed for Joshua Redman, in whose band he, Hutchinson and Rogers worked for three years. Redman joins the party here and for a no-holds-barred romp through Jule Styne's chestnut "Just in Time later on.

More of that going home feel for Rogers bubbles on several other tracks: through the addition of steel drum on Toru Dodo's "Phillip and from the blatant Caribbean vibe of Blue Mitchell's hot classic "Fungii Mama"—enhanced by solos by Blake and Payton, plus a spirited whistle segment, ostensibly by percussionist Kahlil Kwame Bell.

There's a breezy reggae lilt to Rogers' laid-back original "The Things I Am, which features the leader on electric bass. There is a delicate intimacy—just bass, guitar and brushes—on the Hoagy Carmichael ballad "The Nearness of You. Rogers' "Alleviation lives up to its unusual name. It starts out a bit frenetic, but gradually calms while maintaining deep introspection.

Track Listing: Wala Wala; Anorev; Ting for Ray; St. Thomas; Shed; Phillip; Fungii Mama; The Things I Am; The Nearness of You; Just in Time; Alleviation.

Personnel: Reuben Rogers: bass; Ron Blake: tenor sax (2,7), baritone sax (8), alto flute (2,6); Joshua Redman: tenor sax (5,10); Nicholas Payton: trumpet (1,7,10); Aaron Goldberg: piano and Fender Rhodes; Gregory Hutchinson: drums; Kahlil Kwame Bell: percussion; Adam Cruz: steel drum (6); David Gilmore: guitar (2,8); Mark Whitfield: guitar (3,9).

Title: The Things I Am | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Self Produced


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