Ray Drummond

Excursion

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Bassist Ray Drummond performs six of his compositions (including the five-part "Excursion") plus Hermeto Pascoal's "Andei," "Invitation," and Thelonious Monk's "Well, You Needn't" on this excellent set. While Drummond has a fair amount of solo space, the real solo stars are Joe Lovano and Craig Handy, who are heard on tenors, sopranos, and flutes. Not far behind is pianist Danilo Perez (who has the ability to make the most complex improvisation sound effortless), while both Marvin "Smitty" Smith and Mor Thiam are on drums and percussion. Lovano and Handy's passionate solos are sometimes quite intense and never fall short of ideas. Although none of Drummond's originals are destined to become standards, they inspire the soloists, who in turn uplift the tunes. This is one of Ray Drummond's finest recordings to date.

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