Cecil Brooks III

Smokin' Jazz

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This live set from Trumpets in Montclair, NJ, features spirited hard bop by drummer Cecil Brooks III's talented group of top-notch straight-ahead players. "Fried Bananas" swings hard, Brooks' "Montclair" is the most impressive of the originals, trumpeter Jack Walrath (in excellent form throughout) is showcased on "Everything Happens to Me," and his "Natural Selection" has some group improvising à la Charles Mingus. Although nothing all that innovative occurs during this set, the music is of consistently high quality, with many fine solos from Walrath, tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, altoist Antonio Hart, and pianist Stephen Scott; bassist Lonnie Plaxico and drummer Brooks are excellent in support. Easily recommended to straight-ahead jazz collectors although this Muse CD will be difficult to find.

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