Flight Path

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Sphere's second LP focuses primarily on originals by members of the group, unlike their first album, which concentrated exclusively on the works of Thelonious Monk. The one Monk song is the infrequently heard "Played Twice"; they also add a relaxed yet solidly swinging interpretation of the old standard "If I Should Lose You." Kenny Barron contributed the Latin-flavored "El Sueño" and the turbocharged "Flight Path." Tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse (a veteran of nearly 11 years in Monk's quartet) wrote "Pumpkin's Delight," which is easily the most intricate chart of the session. Bassist Buster Williams penned the ballad "Christina" in honor of his niece. All of the group's members are in top form, with drummer Ben Riley (like Rouse, a veteran of Monk's quartet) solidly anchoring the rhythm section. Also noteworthy are the two photographs on the jacket of the 1978 release; the front cover is a dramatic vintage photo of New York City taken from a high-rise by the well-known Margaret Bourke-White, while the group photo on the back cover takes on some special meaning as the now-destroyed twin towers of the World Trade Center rise high above them in the background. This release is well worth seeking.

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