Sunday, October 18, 2009

SOUL MAN

Eric, at Border’s Book and Music last week, my friend Ron recommended I buy your new album “Revival of the Fittest”. Yesterday, I bought the album at Car City Records in St. Clair Shores, MI, and I listened to it this evening. Ron said this was a great album. I agree with his assessment. He knew I would like the album. I like tenor saxophonists who have a knack for playing ballads.

“The Island” is a prettiest song on the album. You know how to expose the soul of a ballad like tenor saxophonists such as Ike Quebec, and Dexter Gordon did. Like them, you play ballads with a puppy love kind of innocence. You wrapped your arms around the waist of the ballads “My Grown-Up Christmas List” and “Love-Wise and slow dragged with the chord changes. Pianist Harold Mabern was the right accompanists. His playing was tight knit, but he cut loose a few times. Mabern jumped into the blues number “Blues for Phineas” with both feet.

“Revival of the Fittest” is only the second album I have of yours. The other is the live album you co-led with alto saxophonist Vincent Herring four years ago “The Battle” Live at Smokes”. It is an exciting album, but the title is misleading.You guys didn’t really battle. Both of you played your butts off. Your styles are different. Herring is an alto player with a sturdy chin, but matching him against you would’ve been unfair like pitting a welterweight against a heavyweight.

Eric, I almost decided aganist going to the bookstore last Friday. I’m glad I went, and saw my friend Ron. If I decided to stay home, Ron could not have recommended “Revival of the Fittest”.
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