Recent listening, current

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

169. Ronnie Cuber / Live at the Blue Note (1986)

Live at the Blue Note is fine hard bop by a very strong quartet featuring Cuber on barisax, with Dr. Lonnie Smith on organ and the outspoken Randy Brecker on trumpet. Drums are by Ronnie Burrage. The lineup says it all. Brecker is outstanding, assertive and brassy but so is everyone else. Listeners will recognize Cuber and Smith as an old team. From behind the organ Dr. Smith gives the music a robust buoyancy, working the draw bars like floodgates. Along with Burrage, he bounces between playing his own steely choruses and pointed interplay with Brecker and Cuber. The date is memorable and stands head and shoulders above Cuber's studio dates on Projazz, like Two Brothers. The set is a mix of bop, rhythm, and blues. It gets pretty hot, as with "Philly Blues," or "Blue 'n' Boogie," but practically the whole disc has the same feel. If you can find a copy and the price is reasonable, buy it. The audio is great, too.

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