Royce Campbell

Elegy to a Friend

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The music on Elegy to a Friend was not initially released until 16 years after it was recorded in 1990. It is dedicated to the late drummer Stan Gage, who passed away in 1992 and did not record all that often in his career. This is generally one of guitarist Royce Campbell's most adventurous recordings, a post-bop set consisting of originals. Some of the selections border on the avant-garde but those are contrasted by a couple of blues numbers (including "No Blues Is Good Blues") and the closing ballad "Elegy to a Friend." Terrence Cook proves to be a valuable player, displaying an original voice on alto, soprano and oboe. Bassist Ratzo Harris has his spots and drummer Gage is also well featured. Royce Campbell sounds quite comfortable in these unpredictable settings, making one wonder why it took so long to release this worthy CD. Recommended.

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