It makes sense that Bobby Gordon would want to record a tribute to Joe Marsala, who took him under his wing as a young man, taught him a bit about the clarinet, and opened a few doors for him. Although Marsala achieved fame in his heyday, his contributions have been somewhat overlooked, particularly as a composer. Gordon rectifies this oversight by covering 16 originals (plus one song by other writers, "Little Sir Echo" that adds a new verse by Marsala and Adele Girard) with arrangements by pianist Keith Ingham. Also taking part are fellow players he's crossed paths with on the jazz party circuit, including trumpeter Randy Reinhart, guitarist James Chirillo, bassist Vince Giordano, violinist Russell George, with either Arnie Kinsella or Steve Little on drums. Gordon often focuses on his warm lower register, while his tone sometimes leans toward that of Pee Wee Russell. All of the songs are enjoyable, with Ingham's arrangements allowing for short solos by several players, with all of the performances running under five minutes each. Gordon is not one to hog the spotlight, typically taking only a chorus at a time, with Reinhart and George rounding out the strong front line. Recommended.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden