Eyes of the Elders is saxophonist and flutist T.K. Blue's second release as a leader on the Arkadia Jazz label, a collection of 13 songs that pertain to certain jazz elders -- John Coltrane, Charlie Mingus, Benny Carter, and Denzel Best -- who have inspired the artist along his path of musical growth. Infused with the creative influences T.K. Blue received as a result of living in Europe and traveling throughout Africa, the creative elements, circumstances, and events that shaped the concept for Eyes of the Elders are carefully arranged, composed, and masterfully played. Joined by such stellar players as Stefon Harris on vibraphones and marimba, Randy Brecker on trumpet; James Weidman, Eric Reed, and Joanne Brackeen on piano; Jeff ‘Tain Watts on drums; and Lonnie Plaxico on bass, T.K. Blue's saxophone, flute, and marimba playing is enhanced by their freedom of expression with the subtleties and nuances of the songs clearly explored. T.K.'s saxophone playing is brilliant on the title track and the great composition "Dance of the Nile," which has a kind of Arabic, North African desert feel with a nouveau swing beat. "Rites of Passage" features an excellent duet by Stefon Harris and T.K. Blue on marimba and kalimba, respectively, amid the floating mastery of Harris on vibes. Blue's excellent flute playing is realized on "Matriarch," a subtle, mysterious song filled with beautiful flute trills and floating melodies. When listened to in the context of the artist's emotional, spiritual, and musical maturation, Eyes of the Elders should continue to captivate the audiences that were affected by Another Blue as well as garner new fans throughout the global jazz community.
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AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein