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Two by One For All

Ken Dryden By

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One For All
Jazz Legacy

One For All
Return of the Lineup
Sharp Nine

One For All is a collective of hard bop/straight-ahead players who have busy careers as leaders and sidemen, yet enjoy the time they are able to spend together, whether working on a new CD or performing around the New York City club scene. The core group had its origins at Auggie's (now Smoke) in 1986, where drummer Joe Farnsworth had a regular gig. Soon he was joined by tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, trumpeter/flugelhornist Jim Rotondi and bassist John Webber. Trombonist Steve Davis came on board in 1990, with pianist David Hazeltine joining a few years later. They didn't officially play under their sobriquet for a few more years, though Incorrigible marks their 15th CD together.

Most of Incorrigible is devoted to originals, excepting Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart's "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," long a favorite of jazz musicians. But instead of treating this standard as a straight-ahead ballad, the group reharmonizes it, shifting from a loping introductory tempo to breezy hard bop, highlighted by smoldering tenor and energized trumpet. But the originals prove to be just as potent. The tenorist's title track is full of twists and rewarding solos by each frontline member. Hazeltine's Latin-flavored "Petite Ange" has an understated swagger while his slow but subtle "Blues For Jose" showcases blues-drenched solos by Davis, Rotondi and Alexander though the pianist loosens things up with his playful bop line. Davis contributed the gospel-flavored shuffle "So Soon," an extended workout that would have fit Art Blakey's repertoire (no surprise, since Davis was a member of the drummer's final band), and his modal piece "Spirit Waltz" bristles with energy. Rotondi switches to flugelhorn for his ballad "Voice," a moving salute to the late Freddie Hubbard, The trumpeter's infectious "Back to Back" is full of rich harmonies and would get any nightclub audience on its feet.

The group's previous disc Return of the Lineup is also a strong session. Two familiar pieces are included. Alexander extends John Coltrane's well-known arrangement of the standard "But Not For Me," conjuring a bit of the late tenor saxophonist in his solo and Rotondi's gorgeous setting of Cedar Walton's ballad "Dear Ruth" features his rich flugelhorn. Among the originals, Hazeltine's exuberant "Treatise for Reedus" honors drummer Tony Reedus (who died unexpectedly a short time prior to this record date), featuring the composer's intricate solo and Rotondi's sizzling muted trumpet. The pianist's "Blues For JW" is a snappy bop vehicle that almost has to be in honor of the late pianist/composer James Williams (who was Reedus' uncle and died unexpectedly in 2004 after a short bout with liver cancer). Rotondi's tense "Jackpipe" would have been welcome in the height of the hard bop era, a stimulating chart that provokes invigorating solos all around. There is more than a share of Latin-tinged pieces, too. Davis' "Silver and Cedar" honors two jazz piano greats while Alexander's "Road to Marostica" has a hip AfroCuban vibe blended with hard bop.

Tracks and Personnel


Tracks: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered; Petite Ange; Voice; Incorrigible; Blues for Jose; Spirit Waltz; Back to Back; So Soon.

Personnel: Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone; Jim Rotondi: trumpet, flugelhorn; Steve Davis: trombone; David Hazeltine: piano; John Webber: bass; Joe Farnsworth: drums.

Return of the Lineup

Tracks: Jackpipe; But Not For Me; Silver and Cedar; Treatise For Reedus; Dear Ruth; Forty-Four; Road to Marostica; Blues For JW.

Personnel: Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone; Jim Rotondi: trumpet, flugelhorn; Steve Davis: trombone; David Hazeltine: piano; John Webber: bass; Joe Farnsworth: drums.


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