Gerald Beckett

Black Eyes

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From the CD cover of three young topless black boys painted blue, listeners might expect this to be something very exotic. Instead, it's a solid, straightforward date by the flutist playing in joyful ensemble with a handful of longtime bandmembers. There are a few unique originals written by bassist Aaron Germain, but for the most part these guys are jamming on classics written by greats like Victor Feldman, Wayne Shorter (the title track), Chick Corea (the swaying, graceful "Windows"), Roy Hargrove (the minor-keyed "Roy Allan"), and Wynton Marsalis (the moody, swinging "So This Is Jazz, Huh?"). Beckett is a bit confusing at first, opening Feldman's "Joshua" as a sax/flute duet before giving it over to the tenor of Will Jhun for a few minutes before the flute takes over. There are all sorts of mood swings, but an overall optimism and romance shines through. Not that it's necessary, but Lonnie Tuck's lush vocal on Christian McBride's "A Dream of You" is a pretty addition, featuring Kevin Fellezs's shimmering piano work.

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