Joel Spencer-Kelly Sill Quartet

The Brighter Side

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Interestingly, The Brighter Side features sidemen who are better known than the leaders. This 1993 post-bop date was led by drummer Joel Spencer and acoustic bassist Kelly Sill, neither of whom was well known nationally at the time. However, these "young lions" had kept busy playing the Chicago jazz scene; in fact, they were regularly hired by late trumpeter Red Rodney for Midwestern gigs in the '80s and early '90s. The better-known players on The Brighter Side are pianist Garry Dial and saxman Chris Potter, both of whom were also Rodney sidemen and had been part of his East Coast team. One of the more interesting and impressive young lions to emerge in the '90s, Potter is in good-to-excellent form on this album. The saxophonist (who is featured on tenor, soprano, and alto) isn't innovative, but his expressive playing on pieces by Dial, Sill, and himself points to the fact that he is nonetheless a recognizable and risk-taking soloist. Recorded only two days after these improvisers had backed Rodney during a six-night gig at Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase (arguably the Village Vanguard of Chicago), The Brighter Side is recommended to post-bop enthusiasts.

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