Gary Motley

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Most of Gary Motley's recordings as a leader have been for his own label, though none of them are what one would classify as "vanity" CDs. This capable pianist, composer, and arranger has a lot going for him on this date, which mixes standards and jazz classics with overlooked gems and a surprise or two. Accompanied by bassist Herman Burney (with Moffett Morris taking his place on three tracks) and drummer Bernard Linnette, Motley's funky take of "Sweet and Lovely" brings to mind a gorgeous lady strutting down the sidewalk. He's able to communicate the bittersweet tone of "It Never Entered My Mind" with a poignant arrangement that doesn't require a vocalist. Singer Veronica Tate (the leader's lovely wife) adds a playful touch to "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" and serenades her husband in an upbeat setting of "I Remember You." Motley plucks the tasty blues "Bama Stomp and Breakdown" from obscurity (just try to find the original recording) with a choice performance; this piece by Dwike Mitchell and Willie Ruff features Burney singing in octave unison with his bass à la Slam Stewart. Motley's sole original of the session is "Monkology," a quirky tribute to Thelonious Monk that shows off his striding left hand. Snap up this delightful CD without delay!

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