Steve Smith & Buddy's Buddies

Steve Smith & Buddy's Buddies

by Steve SmithSteve Smith

CD

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Overview

When thinking of drummer Buddy Rich, the first thing that comes to mind is a screaming big band propelled by the master. However, Rich also recorded in small group settings, and it's this facet of the drum legend's musical personality that Steve Smith and his friends explore on this CD. Teaming up with four alumni of the Buddy Rich band from the 1970s and '80s, Smith takes on the difficult task of filling Rich's drum chair for this impressive set. It's great to hear saxophonist Steve Marcus cooking again. He and alto saxophonist Andy Fusco provide the perfect frontline, blending seamlessly on the ensemble passages, then taking off in their distinctive solo styles. Marcus gets out there on his soprano and tenor while Fusco locks in closer, only to rise on "Airegin." Pianist Lee Musiker shows talent that deserves wider recognition, providing a fat chordal underpinning one moment and soaring through an inventive solo the next. Bassist Anthony Jackson brings impressive credentials to the gig and delivers a solid bottom throughout. Steve Smith shines in each setting, never aping Rich directly, yet still conjuring images of Rich (and the great Billy Cobham as well) with his facile, polyrhythmic yet swinging approach. His brushwork will surprise those who think of Smith only as a high-energy rock and fusion drummer. The choice of material is good, with a number of mostly familiar pieces mingled among a couple of lesser-known chestnuts. This was one of the best small group jazz recordings of 1999, overlooked perhaps as a mere "tribute" recording. This album actually offers a smoking set of great music by a quintet that sounds like they've been playing together for years.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/28/1999
Label: Tone Center
UPC: 0026245400627
catalogNumber: 4006
Rank: 195897

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