This summit recording by pianist John Hicks, drummer Elvin Jones, and bassist Cecil McBee might not always hit the heights, but it still impresses with a fine repertoire and quality playing. John Coltrane's "Cousin Mary" kicks things off with Hicks and Jones matching the vigorous interplay the drummer and pianist McCoy Tyner plied so well in Coltrane's classic quartet, while a faithful reading of the tenor giant's airy ballad "After the Rain" is also included.
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Michael released "Dragonfly Summer after a three year hiatus. What a wonderful return. The opener "Coming To Life" is an upbeat tune where Michael seems like he's singing about the start of this album itself. All of the songs are winners, I sometimes wonder what the outtakes are like, given the overall quality of the songs here. "Soul Mate" not only turned me on to Jeff Lorber, but also introduced me to Eric Benet, he's singing the harmony vocal. Not only is Michael talented, but the people he surrounds himself with, wow! The title track is fun, "Monk's New Tune" is about as late night jazz as Michael gets. "I Love Lucy" is that "I Love Lucy," the only cover Michael has recorded, save for a couple Christmas songs. The song is transformed from a Cuban lounge style to a romantic Brazilian influenced love song, the orchestration is glorious. "Practice Makes Perfect" is fun, "String Of Pearls" is a beautiful song, moving at a nice tempo featuring accoustic guitar and a woodwind solo.
Reissue with the latest remastering and the original cover artwork. Comes with a description written in Japanese. John Hicks works in some really wonderful company here – a trio with bassist Curtis Lundy and drummer Idris Muhammad – both of whom really add a lot to the date! We're always big fans of Lundy's sound on bass – and his approach here has the same warm-rolling quality you'd find in his own best 80s work – really helping to push Hicks' lyrical agenda on the piano with a rhythmic support that's tremendous. Muhammad's pretty great too – definitely on the understated side of his talents, that nicely subtle sound he developed in the 80s – and Hicks, as always, is more than a cut above most of his contemporaries, and continues a long legacy of extremely soulful work on the keys of the piano.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Features original cover artwork. Comes with a descripton in Japanese. The title alone is more than enough to win us over here – as it's a great Duke Pearson composition that turns out to be a wonderful showcase for the most lyrical modes of pianist John Hicks! That tune's the leadoff, and it really sets the tone for the record – a gently soulful set that has Hicks working in a wonderful trio with Ray Drummond on bass and Idris Muhammad on drums – both players with a warmly melodic feel, especially Drummond – who seems to create this resonance with John's piano. Titles include "Is That So", "Emily", "Yesterdays", "I'll Remember April", "Sonnymoon For Two", and "April Eyes".