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".
Debut, one-of-a-kind, raspy Texas style country album mixed with a dash of blues, soul and smooth musical rock undertones. What do you get when you mix a six time Emmy Award winning producer, with brilliant musicians, back-up vocalists and raspy warrior poet lyricists? A Texas style cruising down the road feel good jam with a sprinkle of all the most edible genres! Finally here, and years in the making, John Hicks Five After Four is sure to delight, surprise and keep you coming back for more after just ONE LISTEN. Not a filler song on the entire album. Please enjoy!
John Hicks is heard with his working trio on what is likely his final recording, made two months to the day prior to his unexpected death. With bassist Buster Williams and drummer Louis Hayes, also seasoned veterans and bandleaders themselves, the set list for this well-recorded studio session is a hard bop lover's feast, drawing from both familiar and less frequently heard repertoire. Hicks throws quite a few curves into Gigi Gryce's "Minority" by tossing in a few vamps then getting right to business with improvising rather than bothering to offer a chorus of its theme, with Williams' fleet bassline and Hayes' brushwork powering him in full flight. The leader's sole original is a salute to Cedar Walton, an upbeat piece called "As Birds Fly (Walton's Mountain)" in which the musicians easily scale its heights. The bassist contributed two originals, including the lush, somewhat moody "Strivers Jewels" and the delicate tribute to his then-young niece "Christina." Hayes is an asset throughout the recording, particularly standing out in the powerful interpretation of Dexter Gordon's "Cheesecake".
This edition of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers is an unusual one. The personnel includes Blakey veterans Lee Morgan (returning to the band after some success as a leader), Curtis Fuller, and Victor Sproles, along with John Hicks (who appeared on three other Blakey records) and the tenor saxophonist John Gilmore (of Sun Ra fame) in his only appearance with the band. As was typical of Blakey-led groups, the emphasis is on original material by its members; the one Broadway show tune included, "Faith," is from a long since forgotten I Had a Ball. Morgan's driving blues "'S Make It" is easily the highlight of the session, though Hicks' richly voiced "Waltz for Ruth" and Fuller's Latin-flavored "Little Hughie" also deserve to be better known than they are. It's a shame that this was the only recording by this particular lineup of the Jazz Messengers, as Gilmore's strong blowing complements Morgan very well.