Bill Barron

Higher Ground

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Bill Barron's final recording as a leader (cut just 8½ months before his death at age 62) was released for the first time on this 1993 CD. Barron was still in his prime and this effort (a quintet date with trumpeter Eddie Henderson, pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Ben Riley) is more straight-ahead than usual. Barron, who usually did not play standards much, performs four here (including "Caravan" and "Alone Together") and his three originals (plus one by younger brother Kenny) are also very much in the hard bop vein, less avant-garde than usual. The leader's solos, however, are as adventurous as ever, and the CD is easily recommended as an example of his excellent, underrated playing.

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