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Review From UK of “To My Surprise”

TO MY SURPRISE
A Piclure 0f Dorion Mode; Still Wofer; New Muse Blues; Limbo;
Alone Agoin; I Hadn’f Anyone ‘Til You; OId Devil Moon; Mogic Bloze; To My Surprise; You’ve Chonged; Eye 0f The Hurricone; ln The Wee Smoll Hours
(64 09)

Jimmy Owens (t); Lonce Bryont (ts); Mike Longo (p); Bob Cronshow (b); Lewis Nosh (d). Englewood. New Jersey, 1 Augusl, 201 t.

CAP 1030 *****

Pianist Mike Longo offers this quintet and trio menu with a life- time of musical experience, including a quarter of a century of feeding chords for maestro Dizzy Gillespie, under his belt.

His helpmates here have also put in a wealth of time in honing their skills. Consequently they create a recital high in invention and collaborative team work. Longo is a polished perfonner, whose melodic nous matches his rhyth- mic flexibility. A handy tune- smith, too, as five of his entries here confirm.

It’s so good to hear Jimmy Owens’s mellow horn in a fine array of measured solos. When I watched him recording as a young man all of45 years ago, he had much more hair and a slim- mer girth, but exhibits much greater musicality these days. In Lance Bryant he has a sound sax- ophone partner, unflashy but resilient. Both horns and the leader benefit from the simpatico support of Cranshaw and Nash, a pair of ever dependables.

With a nice balance of five quintet funes and six trio performances, the set gives a finely drawn picture of Longo’s writing and improv abiljties. Especially attractive are the trio accounts of I Hadn’t Any- one ‘Til You and Wayne Shorter’s Limbo,brt OId Deuil Moon rattles along very sweetly, while Eye O/ The Hurcicane catches the three- some at ful1 pelt and in total con- trol. Deserved credit all round and a fine example of straight ahead, contemporary hard bop. Just what the doctor ordered!

Mark Gardner

 

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