Cookin' at the Continental

James Clay

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Cookin' at the Continental Review

by Scott Yanow

Tenor saxophonist James Clay had a brief comeback starting in 1988 before he passed away in 1995. This is one of his final recordings. Most interesting is a duet with bassist Christian McBride on "Crazeology." There are also four quartet numbers (with McBride, pianist Kirk Lightsey, and drummer Winard Harper) and four selections that are reunions with fellow tenor David "Fathead" Newman (including a remake of "Wide Open Spaces"). Two of the numbers with Newman ("Sister Sadie" and "Moanin'") also feature trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Although Clay's playing is not flawless (Newman sounds more consistent), plenty of sparks fly and this is a frequently exciting set, well worth searching for.

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