Mickey Tucker

Hang in There

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For pianist Mickey Tucker's second Steeplechase recording he gathered a group of fine young players, saxophonists Javon Jackson and Donald Harrison, trumpeter Greg Gisbert, and drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith, augmented by veteran bassist Ray Drummond, to perform a challenging program of six hard bop-oriented originals, four by Tucker, and a nice trio arrangement of the standard "Star Eyes." With two former Jazz Messengers and Jackson and Harrison on the front line, the music takes on a Jazz Messenger-like flavor, with the melodies of "Happy" and "Hook Turns and Hectacres" adding a modern twist. Tucker's "Happy" has one of the fastest-moving melodies one will ever hear. Starting with a fast piano-drums duet, the composition moves into a tricky line so fast the horns can hardly play it, then into blazing uptempo for the soloists fueled by Smith's driving drumming. Other favorites include the finger poppin "Wombat Children," the funky "Cloud Seven," and another up-tempo burner, "Mickey's Tucker." A welcome addition to Tucker's small discography.

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