You might think that a tribute to the great Elvin Jones would be a thunderous song, to represent the drummer's monumental fills and polyrhythmic timekeeping. But composer Will Sellenraad had in mind a softer, soulful side to Elvin. "Prayer" has just such a transcendent quality, centered on merely two chords, given depth and warmth by Sellenraad's guitar, then gently nudged along by bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and another preeminent drummer, Victor Lewis. While saxophonist Abraham Burton locates the passionate notes on the higher end of the scale, it's Lewis who, like Jones would have done, provides just the right dose of fills and soft bombs. The leader follows with a flawless demonstration on maximizing the value of each note instead of maximizing the number of notes played.
Sellenraad says that the melody for "Prayer" appeared in his head when he woke up with it at 3 a.m. That must have been one vividly colorful, peaceful dream he had that night.
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