Master bassist Cecil McBee has had a long career of supporting some of the greats of jazz from earlier work on Blue Note to more recent sessions with Joanne Brackeen and Chico Freeman. He has also produced a handful of fine dates as a leader over the years, as well as occasional tours and recordings with The Leaders, an all-star band comprised of Lester Bowie, Freeman, Arthur Blythe, Kirk Lightsey and Don Moye. Unspoken showcases McBee’s current working band performing the bassist’s bluesy, angular compositions.
Trumpeter James Zollar and alto saxophonist Randall Connors create plenty of fire throughout. Connors’ forays bring the great James Spaulding to mind. In fact, the tunes and playing may remind you of some of the late 60’s Blue Note recordings that included Spaulding, Freddie Hubbard, Elvin Jones and, of course, Cecil McBee. Drummer Matt Wilson adds equal parts intensity and fun, at one point vocally encouraging the horn men to "tell ‘em about it!" The focus is on the tunes and the band. McBee lets his band mates shine on his excellent compositions. Unspoken is a satisfying statement from a true jazz legend and his talented sidemen.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.