Bob Thiele

The Lion Hearted

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If one looks at this sealed CD, there is no clue given as to who is on the recording. Actually this is an all-star septet session with altoist Gary Bartz, Ravi Coltrane and Steve Marcus on tenors, trombonist Ray Anderson, pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Ray Drummond, drummer Grady Tate and (guesting on "What a Wonderful World") trumpeter Roy Hargrove. The rhythm section is mostly in a supportive role, Coltrane and Marcus are difficult to tell apart (the liners say nothing about who solos when), Hargrove is just on one song and Bartz sounds fine but the real star is Ray Anderson who consistently steals the show with his wild spirit and ridiculous range. Anderson cuts everyone on "Lion-Hearted," wakes up "Good Bait" and his solo on "Black and Tan Fantasy" would even give Tricky Sam Nanton nightmares. Ray Anderson's extroverted personality adds humor and excitement to the music and is the main reason to acquire this set.

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