T.K. Blue

Latinbird

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T.K. Blue has been well known for his work with Randy Weston, in addition to his own CDs. These live performances from two nights at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola are a tribute to Charlie Parker, emphasizing the Latin numbers composed and recorded by the alto saxophonist in the early '50s. Blue, who doubles on alto sax and flute, arranged all of the selections and is joined by trombonist Steve Turre, pianist Theo Hill, percussionists Willie Martinez, Roland Guerrero, and Lewis Nash, and bassist Essiet Okon Essiet. "Chi Chi" is a boisterous opener in a lively Afro-Cuban setting, while "Barbados" is recast as a calypso, with the band trading fours in a fun-filled performance. Parker's "Donna Lee" begins and ends with an infectious Brazilian rhythm, though the centerpiece is played as a jazz waltz. Blue takes a fresh approach to "Steeplechase" by playing it a bit more laid-back, giving it a funky backbeat with Essiet's electric bass. There's no Latin air to the saxophonist's dramatic interpretation of "'Round Midnight," which features Blue's powerful solo accompanied solely by Essiet, along with a luxurious solo by Hill. Blue's originals include the bluesy "Moods of Parker" (based in part upon "Parker's Mood") and the brilliant unaccompanied "He Flew Away Too Soon." Highly recommended.

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