Ahmad Kharab Salim

Blues Suite

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This set of mid-tempo, blues-based arrangements performed by an all-star group is a good idea that falls short in its execution. Leader and arranger A.K. Salim, a Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie associate, writes in a vein similar to Quincy Jones' work for both Basie and Gillespie, but on these seven tracks he's missing the distinctive sparkle that Jones brought to the task. The pieces are overly arranged and overly similar to one another. There are decent choruses from tenor player Seldon Powell, trumpeter Nat Adderley, and altoist Phil Woods, but nothing that really shows the soloists' personalities. The challenge, though, is for the listener to stay involved through the tedious ensemble sections until the soloists get their shots. Dreary is too strong a word, but certainly dull. Collectors will not be foregoing anything of consequence if they take a pass on this one.

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