Eminent progressive jazz drummer Luther Gray rekindled the spirit of his youth when he listened to music, via his Walkman, while mowing the lawn. With a dual-guitar and bass-less lineup, this ensemble professes a unique identity as it intertwines blues, rock and the perimeters of free jazz into a cleverly designed forum. Here, the musicians inconspicuously dish out an album that carries a mark of distinction
On "One," guitarists Geoff Farina and Dan Littleton launch the festivities with a psychedelic, blues-inflected motif, spiced with tremolo and a laidback groove. Alto saxophonist Gary Hobbs then ups the ante via his gutsy and yearning choruses, where blues and avant-garde jazz attain equal ground. It's an ideology that yields fruitful dividends throughout the program, although each track stands on its own. During the song's bridge, Gray diverts the pulse during his temperate solo spot, following his band mates' frenzied onslaught.
Lawnmower is a sheer delight and West is an album that should not go unnoticed.
Track Listing: One; Glass; Prayers of Death; Giant Squid; Dan; I Love; Two.
Personnel: Luther Gray: drums; Jim Hobbs: alto saxophone; Geoff Farina: guitar; Dan Littleton: guitar.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.