Wynton Marsalis

Fathers and Sons

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Dr. George Butler, like any major-label producer, was always on the lookout for a gimmick to market a recording, so the idea of having a record side each devoted to bands featuring fathers with their sons had some obvious appeal. Side one of this early-'80s Columbia LP features pianist Ellis Marsalis with sons Branford and Wynton playing four of the leader's originals plus one standard. Bassist Charles Fambrough and drummer James Black round out the quintet. While it is apparent that the family has played together, the originals aren't really all that interesting, even though some of the solos are. The sons sit out the senior Marsalis' trio interpretation of "Lush Life," which ends up being the highlight of this session. The second side of the disc features tenor saxophonist Von Freeman, with his son Chico joining him on tenor as well, backed by a strong rhythm section including Kenny Barron, Cecil McBee, and Jack DeJohnette. The younger reed player acquits himself well with the older musicians, especially in his original "Tribute to Our Fathers," in which he convincingly displays his chops. The senior Freeman pulls no punches in his two originals, though it is his passionate interpretation of the standard "I Can't Get Started" that leaves the most lasting impression.

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