Avery Sharpe

Extended Family, Vol. 3: Family Values

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Bassist/composer Avery Sharpe finalizes the trilogy of Extended Family (1994) and Extended Family, Vol. 2 (1995) with this cheery 2001 release, featuring guitarist Kevin Eubanks, violinist John Blake, and others of note. A longtime musical associate of jazz pianist McCoy Tyner, the artist's commanding technical faculties and strong compositional frameworks reign supreme here. Sharpe's acute visions provide the listener with a variegated set consisting of funk/gospel ballads, tuneful chamber-like passages, uplifting vocals by Gayle Dixon, and more. Essentially, the bassist offers the best of both worlds, whether performing fluid arco-basslines or laying down a booming swing groove, as no two pieces sound alike. However, there is a noticeable ebb and flow or sustained sense of continuity throughout many of these interweaving textures, up-tempo swing vamps, and enticing themes, supplemented by Eubanks and drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith's often-blistering excursions. Overall, Sharpe's opuses are all about memorable melodies and contrasting elements amid the musicians' passionate soloing and deft expressionism. Consequently, the leader's optimistic communiqué rings loud and clear during this finely crafted and all-inclusive outing. Recommended.

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