Bruce Williamson

Big City Magic

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This was alto saxophonist Bruce Williamson's debut as a leader, and he leads two fine groups, one with Randy Brecker on trumpet and flugelhorn, the other with bassist Michael Formanek, and both including trombonist Ed Neumeister. The second session, recorded two years after the first, is the superior one, in part due to some excellent soloing by Brecker and choice writing by the leader. Williamson proves himself a talented, if rarely original, improviser, though the nine compositions and arrangements he contributed are often superb. His playing is firmly in the hard bop style of the '90s. The arrangements follow the usual format of head, solos, followed again by the melody, but there is enough variety to usually sustain interest. There is an attention to detail in the writing that marks this as an auspicious introduction to his work.

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