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Bebop Spoken There

Hedvig Mollestad: "I wish I was playing a lot more abroad, because I would like to play with people who are not Norwegians." - (DownBeat November 2020).

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12,160 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1300 of them this year alone and, so far, 2 this month (Dec. 1).

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Album Review: Fred Randolph - Mood Walk

A bass-playing leader playing his own compositions wasn't a recipe that filled me with eager anticipation and my first thought was, who can I pass it on to who will appreciate it more than I will?

Then I played it! Boy did I get it wrong. The moment the needle hit the groove (figuratively speaking) I knew this was mine.

On the Upside: Randolph says it was inspired by Clifford Brown - it sure was! The head was so recognisable I tried to put a name to it but couldn't. Whatever, it's a great number.

Unaware: Chick Corea is the inspiration and Sheldon Brown impresses on flute and there are some tasty vibes from Dillon Vado. Where have I been hiding? I'd never heard of these musicians but they are Summa Cum Laude as Bud Freeman once named his band. Well, these guys are far removed from the world of Bud Freeman other than they play with the highest distinction.

T Bone Slide is a bouncy shuffle groove with Sankovich doing the business on B3. In case you think it all happens in NYC, check out Northern California where these guys hang out.

It's West Coast, but not as we remember it from the old days. The same quality of musicianship, yes, but gutsier, more intense, less ephemeral. Typical being Strange Game - David Crosby the subconscious inspiration. 

Mood Walk, runs rather than walks, enabling trumpet and tenor to blow some 21st century bebop with piano and bass adding to the recipe.

Knowing has a nice Latin feel to it, far removed from the pseudo bossa rhythms that pervade the European (and UK) scene. To misquote from the Leiber/Stoller number Peggy Lee (and Zoë Gilby) used to do so well - these cats really do know!

Mr Now came via Randolph listening to Coltrane Plays the Blues. I think that maybe Sheldon Brown also listened to the same album. But what am I doing mentioning names? Every one is Napoleon Brandy!

Todd Rundgren is name checked in the title of Todd's Idea. Sankovich plays a Wurlitzer electric piano on this one bringing back memories of the days when your allegiances were either Wurlitzer or Fender Rhodes. I think the Rhodes probably won that particular war although I  personally preferred the sound of the former.  

Nouveau Monde features the Congolese Ndombolo rhythm adding to the cosmopolitan feel of the album. Meadows is a Latin waltz and the album finishes off with Funky N.O. Thing. This does exactly what it says on the label and everyone has a good old blast.

Now available via the usual suspects - check out here.
Lance

Fred Randolph (basses); Erik Jecabson (trumpet/flugel); Sheldon Brown (tenor sax/flute); Dan Zemelman (piano); Greg Wyser-Pratte (drums) + Greg Sankovich (keys/organ) ; Silvestre Martinez (perc.); Brian Rice (perc.); Dillon Vado (vibes). 

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