One of the finest jazz musicians on the Canadian jazz scene, Toronto-based pianist / bassist Richard Whiteman lays down what he considers, perhaps, his best recording to date on the audacious Very Well & Good. A long established pianist for decades, Whiteman picked up the double bass in 2004 and has not put it down since. On this sparkling album the pianist performs on the double bass, leaving the keys to Amanda Tosoff, and presents nine of his best compositions along with three cover tunes to top off an incredibly engaging musical statement.
Performing with a core quartet that includes guitar great Reg Schwager, pianist Tosoff and drummer Morgan Childs, the leader makes it more interesting by featuring Pat LaBarbera and Mike Murleytwo tenor saxophone masters who serve here as special guests in a very special reed section that swings mightily. In fact, for this occasion, Whiteman penned the original "Pat and Mike" as a tribute to the duo, a slow burn of a number where the reed men provide a nice call-and-response, with Schwager and Tosoff joining the leader on brisk solos on a definite keeper of a track.
The album is full of memorable moments and that begins right out of the gate on the opening title track where the bebop sound is alive and well. There are some light pieces such as the balladic "Not So Early," on which the pianist displays her chops on the keys. Speaking of the pianist, her original "Re-Entry," picks up the pace on a quick tempo tune, highlighting one of the superb performances by the reed section. The warm spot of the recording is found on the light ballad "Waltz for Zeke while the band returns to traditional bebop on the splendid "Residue."
The murderer's row of musical line-ups where one track is followed by another that's even better, begins with "Residue,' and continues blasting one thunderous sound after another on "Mangoes," "Pat and Mike," "La Belle Epoche," and ends on the sensuous and sublime Brazilian-tinged "Right Here, Right Now, with You."
Well, it seems that bassist Richard Whiteman has crafted one masterpiece of a recording. Perfectly titled and, actually, far better than Very Well & Good, it is quite impressive in every way.
Very Well & Good; Not so Early; Re-Entry; Waltz for Zeke; It is What it Is; Selohssa; Residue; Mangoes; Pat and Mike;
La Belle Epoche; Right Here, Right Now, with You; Dancing with Zeke.
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