"The Owe Joe," "East of the Sun," "Echoes of the Night," "Jane's Song," "Bad Dream," "Firm Grip," "Lou Ann," "A Change Will Come," "The Bidwell Cronies" (66.01)
Earl Macdonald (p), Dick Oates (as), Joe Magnarelli (t), Steve Davis (tb), Dave Santora (b), Tom Melito (d)
This is a neat sextet hailing from the East Coast who have assembled to play Earl's appealing arrangements. Altoist Dick and trumpeter Joe are well known in the New York area, having played with the Mel Lewis Vanguard Big Band back in the 1980s.
Steve Davis is a more recent addition to the scene, having been included in the final edition of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. The remaining members of the sextet have worked as a rhythm section successfully on previous occasions, and you can hear an obvious togetherness in their work on this interesting recording.
The inspired solo work flows from the clever writing contained in Earl Macdonald's charts, and the smooth overall aspect of the music is both swinging and tuneful.
Although the group emanates from the East Coast, in sound it could easily be related to the West.
Nice sounds with excellent solos and a hip rhythm section.
By Al Merritt