Mary Stallings

Spectrum

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Having done a fine job accompanying Mary Stallings on I Waited for You, pianist Gene Harris' quartet (which also included guitarist Ron Eschete, bassist Andy Simpkins, and drummer Paul Humphrey) rejoined the vocalist on her next Concord Jazz effort Spectrum. Also on board are saxman Rickey Woodard and veteran trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison, whose uncertain solos on Sir Charles Thompson's "Robbin's Nest," Fletcher Henderson's "Soft Winds," Duke Ellington's "Day Dream," and other classics, showed how much his chops had deteriorated. At age 79, Sweets was a far cry from the roaring lion he'd been from the 1930s to the '70s. But his decline doesn't erase the fact that Stallings brings a tremendous amount of soul and vitality to the material. Her personal interpretations of the above-mentioned songs, as well as Eric Clapton's heartbreaking "Tears in Heaven" and Ellington's "Solitude" clearly make Spectrum worth the price of admission, and the solos of Harris, Eschete, and Woodard aren't anything to complain about either. All things considered, this is a CD that has many more strengths than weaknesses.

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