The Blue Note 7: Little B's Poem


Little B's Poem


The Blue Note 7


Mosaic: A Celebration of Blue Note Records (Blue Note 28123)

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Steve Wilson (flute), Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Charlap (piano), Lewis Nash (drums), Ravi Coltrane (tenor sax), Nicholas Payton (trumpet), Peter Washington (bass).

Composed by Bobby Hutcherson


Recorded: Englewood, NJ, May 27-28, 2008


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Here is one measure of how much thing have changed in jazz. When the Blue Note label tried to brand a band back in the 1980s (with the group Out of the Blue), they relied on young players who represented the future of jazz. But the new Blue Note band clearly looks back to the past for inspiration. Yes, we have moved from the Age of the Young Lions to the Era of the Tribute Band.

But it is hard to complain about this lineup, stacked with bandleaders in their own right. So let me be among the first to pay tribute to this tribute band. The choice of songs also helps. Bobby Hutcherson's "Little B's Poem" is a joyous composition with a sly hook at the turnaround. Those six chords, coming at the soloist over the course of six beats, are like a race with a half-dozen high hurdles placed right before the finish line. I would have liked to have heard Coltrane and Payton improvise over the form, but solo duties fall instead to Steve Wilson (who also contributed the chart), Bill Charlap and Peter Bernstein. I give them high marks and also doff my hat to the rhythm section. But my favorite ingredient here is Wilson's interlude for horns and flute right before the final melody statement. This may be B's poem, but the band gets an A.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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