Don Lanphere

Like a Bird

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Since Don Lanphere has been on the jazz scene since the 1940s, one would think that there is no format in which he hasn't performed. This album goes to show that there is always something new on the horizon. And that's the scene for this album, where, for the first time, Lanphere works with a Hammond B3 organ, here in the capable hands of Barney McClure. Also along for this occasion is guitarist Mimi Fox, and when you add Mel Brown on drums, you have a rather novel quartet of sax, organ, guitar, and drums. The boppish saxes of Lanphere, along with the organ groove and soul and the clean guitar strumming of Fox, produce a unique group sound. This is apparent right from the first track of Lanphere's "Swingin' With Party Boy Will," where both establish credentials as individual performers and as soloists. Lanphere's sax is appropriately vibrant, fitting well with McClure's organ and Fox's guitar reaching down to bass depths, on occasion. Brown gets in well-timed drum licks. And everything goes uphill from there. By the time they reach "East Coast Attitude," everyone is grooving high and strong. A Fox original, each gets the chance to stretch way out in that understated modal music style. Lanphere and Fox are alone on a lovely rendering of "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing," where Fox has her guitar pitched rather low and sonorous as she works underneath Lanphere's statement of the melody line. This is a superior track of music. Opening with ethereal Fox strings then sequing into Lanphere's light, delicate and true pitch soprano sax, "My Ship" is another choice three-plus minutes of music. Altogether, the album is more than an hour of consummate musicianship and is highly recommended.