Jake Fryer / Bud Shank / Bud Shank Quintet

In Good Company

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Although Jake Fryer receives top billing over Bud Shank on this Capri CD, it is the veteran alto saxophonist who dominates this studio session. Sadly, it was Shank's swan song, as he succumbed to pulmonary failure the day after this session wrapped, following years of ill health, though he never stopped giving his all. Fryer, a native of the U.K. and also an alto saxophonist, utilized Shank's regular West Coast rhythm section (pianist Mike Wofford, bassist Bob Magnusson, and drummer Joe La Barbera) and penned six originals for the date, in addition to swinging arrangements of familiar tunes. Shank's execution isn't always perfect, but he gets his message across with a gusto that suggests a much younger player. The kick-off tune is a burning setting of "Caravan" with Shank taking no prisoners and Fryer demonstrating that he is quite capable of playing at a high level. Shank's playing in the loping treatment of "Almost Like Being in Love" has a dry wit, while his spirited, playful solo in "Speak Low" is also a treat. Fryer's loping Bud Powell-like "Bopping with Bud" is a highlight, while "Time Lord" showcases La Barbera. Fryer's brisk "In Good Company" is a reworking of the chord changes to "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You." The veteran rhythm section shines throughout this date.

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