Monday, April 16, 2012

Mayfield Impressions; Locke/Keezer Collaboration - Bob Stewart

Curtis Mayfield ranks among the most important and influential artists of the past century, the definition of soul both as the leader of the Impressions and as a solo artist. Jazz musicians have long found much in his words and melodies to inspire new interpretations. "Impressions of Curtis Mayfield" is a new collection of a dozen re-imaginings of some of the late soul man's most potent compositions, recorded by a collective of jazz aces calling themselves the Jazz Soul Seven: Terry Lyne Carrington on drums, Russ Ferrante on piano, Phil Upchurch on guitar, Wallace Roney on trumpet, Ernie Watts on sax, Robert Hurst on bass and the late Master Henry Gibson on percussion. Even without vocals, these new takes on the Mayfield canon express vividly the beauty and honesty inherent in his work.

The past decade has represented particularly extraordinary artistic growth for vibraphonist Joe Locke. Beginning in 2001 and his collaboration with pianist Geoffrey Keezer, and moving forward with projects under his own leadership, his deep understanding of the jazz tradition, married with a profound modernism, has established him as one of the most imaginative, lyrical and emotionally arresting leader/composer in today's jazz scene. "Signing" is his newest project with Keezer and finds the group, with bassist Mike Pope and drummer Terreon Gully, more mature, both individually and collectively, without losing any of the incendiary chemistry that defined its debut.

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