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On Carl Allen and Rodney Whitaker's Work to Do, their second collaboration with Mack Avenue Records, the musicians focus on groove, beauty and respect for the tradition.
Allen and Whitaker provide a swinging backdrop for some of New York's finest and most respected musicians, including guitarist Rodney Jones and saxophonist Vincent Herring, two very distinctive contributors to the album. Joined by five other accomplished artists, the A-list lineup combines to make an electrifying 9-piece ensemble.
Work to Do features 11 tracks, including reworked pop-classics and originals that range from achingly beautiful tunes to those possessing an energized post-bop feel. Highlights include Whitaker's hard-bop original "For Garrison," written for his son, who was named after jazz legend Jimmy Garrison. Here, the melody played by both Chandler and Herring is supported rhythmically by Allen who also provides suspense through his fills, which lead the band into an unbreakable and energized swing feel for the solo section.
The The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby," is uniquely interpreted with the band switching effortlessly between 5/4 and 4/4 throughout, and which Herring uses to his advantage to create a truly impressive solo.
On Johnny Mandel's "Time for Love," Jones' sensitivity as a player is heard through the enchanting lines which accompany Whitakers' bowed melody. Finally, for the bonus track, Allen and Whitaker play a duo a version of "For Garrison," displaying their effortless musical partnership.
Although Work to Do may not be categorized as an innovative album, it does possess remarkable musicality throughout, created by a group of players who have an obvious love for making music together and enjoy an array of different stylesas long as it feels good.
Track Listing: Work to Do; Speak to My Heart; For Garrison; Giving Thanks; What's Going On; Eleanor Rigby; With You I'm Born Again; Grahamstown; A Time For Love; Relativity; For Garrison (bonus track).
Personnel: Carl Allen: drums; Rodney Whitaker: bass; George Colligan: piano; Rodney Jones: acoustic and electric guitars; Dorsey "Rob" Robinson: B3 organ; Brandon Lee: trumpet; Kirk Whalum: tenor and soprano saxophone; Vincent Chandler: trombone; Vincent Herring: alto and soprano saxophone.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.