Allen Mezquida

A Good Thing

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Allen Mezquida is a hard bop altoist who is a little reminiscent of Jackie McLean although his tone is softer. His quartet (with either Bill Mays or Brad Mehldau on piano, bassist Sean Smith and drummer Leon Parker) performs one of his originals, five songs by bassist Smith, Barry Harris' "Father Flanagan" and the standard "The Way You Look Tonight." Mezquida (who begins "Rip Van Winkle" with an effective introduction on piano) has a thoughtful and lightly swinging style while displaying a great deal of inner tension. None of the melodies are all that memorable ("Rip Van Winkle" sounds like "Alfie" in spots) but the challenging chord changes serve as inspiration for consistently creative solos. A highlight is the lengthy "A Good Thing." A fine debut which was released on CD in 1996.

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