B Sharp Jazz Quartet

Mirage

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The second recording by the B Sharp Jazz Quartet, one of the more creative, regularly working jazz units based in Los Angeles, is as interesting for its departures as for the bulk of its performances. Three of the nine selections are a bit unusual. On "The Velvet Touch" guest singer Carmen Bradford vocalizes wordlessly and matches wits quite favorably with the tenor of Randall Willis. Joe Henderson's "Inner Urge" is given a light funk rhythm along with some atmospheric organ from Rodney Lee and, although it does not live up to its potential, it hints at possible innovations. Also, the closing "C.R.S." has an African-flavored group vocal by the band along with Carmen Bradford. Otherwise, the music is more conventional. Best are the driving "Beside Jo'self," "Mirage," and Freddie Hubbard's "Intrepid Fox." In contrast, "Spirit Of J.C." is a disappointment, lacking the passion one would expect from a song with its title. In general, this is an excellent session even though some of the music sounds as if the B Sharp Jazz Quartet (which also includes drummer Herb Graham Jr. and bassist Reggie Carson) is treading water a bit.

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