Ray Drummond Quintet

Camera in a Bag

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One of bassist Ray Drummond's earliest dates as a leader was this delightful quintet session, with David "Fathead" Newman, Kenny Barron, Steve Nelson, and Marvin "Smitty" Smith. Drummond's perfect intonation and matchless time is present in any session in which he takes part, but it is the bassist's strong original compositions and swinging arrangements that particularly catch the listener's ear. The title track was co-composed with pianist Niels Lan Doky (who is not present on this date), it is an up-tempo blues line that has some choice flute by Newman. It's followed by the unusual "Relentless Pursuit," which finds the leader vamping on just one note as the rest of the group develops this intense modal work. "Thinking of E.H." is a initially a waltzing blues with superb polyrhythms by Smith, until the tempo goes into overdrive and Barron displays the tremendous chops that made him one of the most desired pianists over the last decade and a half of the 20th century. "Leanin' and Preenin'" is a playful number supposedly inspired by bird antics witnessed by its composer. Horace Silver's "Peace" features Newman's soulful tenor sax, while Tom Harrell's slightly ominous sounding "Suspended View" is highlighted by the opening unison line with Newman's flute and Nelson's vibes. Another gem is Denny Zeitlin's best known work, the subdued ballad "Quiet Now." This is easily one of Ray Drummond's best all around releases.

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