Kerry Strayer, baritone & soprano saxophones; Gary Foster, alto & tenor saxophones, flute, clarinet; Barry Springer, trumpet, flugelhorn; Earlie Braggs, trombone; Frank Mantooth, piano; Bob Bowman, bass; Todd Strait, drums, Gary Helm, percussion
Baritone- and soprano-saxophone player Kerry Strayer adds another illustrious reed man to his line up on this set of standards and originals. Gary Foster joins the septet on alto, tenor, flute and clarinet. Strayer also tips his hat to him with the title of the set, "Mentor". A bright and invigorating opening for the group with Foster's own "Saturday 10AM" and "Gaviota" shows that Foster's tone and overall sound also covers his flute playing. The Latin piece, "Siempre Me Va Bien", allows the bright trumpet of Barry Springer and the trombone of Earlie Braggs to flourish. "Don't Ask Why" has some beautiful ensemble playing in what is a haunting piece; then a romp through a bop swing with Charlie Parker's "Yardbird Suite" as they chase their respective tails, with the piano of Frank Mantooth adding some twinkling links. "The Peacocks" has Strayer reveling in a splendid solo on his second saxophone, the soprano, an instrument that he has a developing likeness for. Gary Foster is allowed the last word with his piece, "Warne-ing", which is racy and a complicated tongue twister for the players. We will also defer literally the last word to Mr. Foster. "A good eight bars," He says, "Is life's real objective." Check it out and see how close they get.
by Ferdinand Maylin
Jazz Now Interactive July 2004 Vol 14 No. 3 - Table of Contents