Charles McPherson Group

Follow the Bouncing Ball

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A musical descendant of Charlie Parker, alto saxophonist Charles McPherson leads two separate groups in this compilation. The first few selections, from an evidently otherwise unissued session in 1989, feature a quartet with pianist Alan Broadbent, bassist Jeffrey Littleton, and drummer Charles McPherson, Jr. The leader and Broadbent both inject fiery solos into the brisk interpretation of Parker's infrequently played blues "Passport." The easygoing bossa nova treatment of the standard "Where Are You" proves no less dazzling, followed by two potent McPherson originals, the spirited bop vehicle "Follow the Bouncing Ball" (based on the changes to "Lover") and the late-night-themed "Blues for Mac." The final seven tracks made up the contents of the Discovery LP The Prophet, but this 1983 session features pianist Mike Wofford, bassist Andy Simpkins, drummer Donald Bailey, Sr., and trombonist Kevin Quail, with conga player Hayward Brown, Jr. added on some tracks. McPherson is clearly enthusiastic about his rhythm section and gives it plenty of space, while the somewhat obscure Quail holds his own. The interplay in the leader's uptempo cooker "Starburst" is an obvious highlight, though the lush interpretation of Duke Ellington's "Prelude to a Kiss" also proves masterful. Sadly, this CD disappeared from print when the label folded after producer Albert Marx's death, and hopes of a reissue remain slim.

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