Leroy Vinnegar


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Bassist Leroy Vinnegar, a fixture in Los Angeles from the 1950s on, has lived in Portland, OR, since the mid-'80s. Although he was mostly off records from 1977-92 and had a spell of bad health, he is in fine form throughout the 1995 concert documented on his fine release from Jazz Focus. Vinnegar and veteran drummer Mel Brown team up with a pair of excellent Portland-based players for a fine bop-oriented set. Tenorman Gary Harris (who switches to soprano on Freddie Hubbard's "Little Sunflower") is sometimes reminiscent of Harold Land with touches of Red Holloway (although he does a good job of hinting at Sonny Rollins on "Everywhere Calypso") while guitarist Dan Faehule is most influenced by Wes Montgomery and Herb Ellis. Both of the younger musicians show potential for the future. The repertoire is strictly standards and blues (except for Hampton Hawes's obscure "Me Ho") and highlights include the swinging "Blue 'N Boogie," a tenor feature on "We'll Be Together Again" and the calypso. As usual Leroy Vinnegar is content to stick mostly to the background, holding the music together while inspiring the lead voices. Although few surprises occur, the music has plenty of spirit and will easily appeal to straightahead jazz fans.

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