How does a rhythm section of drummer Elvin Jones, bassist Robert Hurst or Eric Revis and pianist Mulgrew Miller sound?
Answer: five stars, of course, especially when you place in front of them trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis, alto saxophonist Donald Harrison or tenor man Branford Marsalis. On "Lone Warrior," Harrison evokes John Coltrane on his moving solo. Delfeayo, the youngest of the Marsalis musical brothers, exhibits his mastery of the trombone. Edwin Livingston is the bassist on the cut, and he deserves to be there.
The opener, "Brer Rabbit," is a solid swinger from start to finish, opening with Hurst's walking bass line followed by Delfeayo's light approach to the blues. The blues carry over to Harrison's alto statement, which winds its way around, over and through the theme.
Miller's piano effort, one of elegant swinging, sets the table for Hurst's return to close it as he opened, with a patented walking line.
"TIMELESS PORTRAITS AND DREAMS"
This is a statement recording by pianist-composer Geri Allen — a statement acknowledging the past history of Black Americans, their heroes and heroines and a prayerful plea for peace in the future.
She artfully crafted this CD, calling upon several musical giants and friends to pull it off so successfully. Vocalist Carmen Lundy, with the backing of the Atlanta Jazz Chorus, conducted by Dwight Andrews, sings a spiritual tribute to Clarissa Williams titled "Well Done."
Allen and the late Mary Lou Williams will be forever linked in history and in the minds of jazz fans. That is reinforced here with Allen's interpretation of Williams' "I Have a Dream," written shortly after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Vocalized by tenor George Shirley and the Atlanta Jazz Chorus, it is the prized centerpiece of the CD.
Her rhythm section is one of great stature, with bassist Ron Carter — who contributes a delightful blues, "Nearly" — and drummer Jimmy Cobb. There are dozens of reasons to love this album and not one to not.