Don Lanphere

Get Happy

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Don Lanphere, a veteran tenor great from the bop era, and Pete Christlieb, the hard-driving tenor from Los Angeles, make for a very complementary and mutually inspiring team. Lanphere, who recorded with Fats Navarro and had an up-and-down career, returned to full-time activity in the early 1980s, and has been heard in prime form ever since; not only is he heard here on tenor, but also on soprano and a bit of alto. Christlieb, who was formerly underrecorded, made up for it with a series of rewarding appearances in the '90s. He played alto for the first time on records during the intriguing stop-start piece "An Interrupted Walk." The two masterful saxophonists are joined by Lanphere's regular rhythm section (pianist Marc Seales, bassist Doug Miller, and John Bishop). In addition, cornetist Jonathan Pugh sits in on his "Free Indeed," and there is a wordless vocal trio on "Assurance"; the laughter of one of Lanphere's students is expertly utilized on the closing "Get Happy." Plus, there is a bit of overdubbing by saxophonist Dewey Marler during ensembles for which it was felt that four horns would be more exciting than two. Although all but "Old Folks," Horace Silver's "Peace," and the title cut are originals by the musicians, the music is very much in the straight-ahead bebop tradition, often utilizing common chord changes or cooking blues. Christlieb is showcased on "Old Folks," and Lanphere has "Peace" as his feature. Otherwise, this joyous CD is most notable for the interplay and the sparks that fly between the co-leaders, who obviously have great respect for each other. Well worth searching for.

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