Bruce Forman

20/20

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This studio session by guitarist Bruce Forman is the type of recording where the leader brought original compositions and arrangements to the date, but left plenty of room for the participant's ideas. With pianist Albert Dailey (who passed away less than three years following this date), bassist Mike Richmond, and drummer Billy Hart, as well as the brilliant trumpeter Tom Harrell on two tracks, everything comes together as if this were a working group. "20/20" is clearly in focus as a compelling hard bop vehicle, with turbocharged solos by Harrell, Forman, and Dailey, though Hart nearly steals the show with a fine effort of his own. "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise" can be a pedestrian tune in the wrong hands, but the group (minus Harrell, who sits out), turns it into quite an affair. Forman is slow to introduce its well-known theme, preferring to build tension with the rhythm section; Richmond's abstract solo eventually sets up the brisk modal setting of this standard. Harrell returns for the high-energy samba "La Music Roca el Musico," but this piece is infused with post-bop fire as well. Forman's mellow "When You Cry" is the sole ballad, a lovely work featuring choice solos by both Dailey and the leader. "Trane's Idea" serves as an ideal closer, a smoking blues in which Forman utilizes excerpts of Coltrane's blues licks in his solo. Released only on LP by Muse, whichever company now owns the masters to this rewarding record should consider reissuing it.

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