George Robert

Looking Ahead

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George Robert was still relatively new on the jazz scene as a leader when this recording was initially released in 1989 in Switzerland, his native land, but it didn't appear worldwide until 2002. But the alto saxophonist was already well on his way to establishing his musical identity. Joined by pianist Dado Moroni, bassist Reggie Johnson, and drummer Peter Schmidlin, he kicks off the CD with a bossa nova-flavored rendition of George Coleman's "Amsterdam After Dark," setting up a solid groove. Benny Golson's "Along Came Betty" is an understated hard bop masterpiece, while Oscar Peterson's "City Lights" is a lovely feature for Robert's lyrical clarinet. It is back to alto sax for his snappy arrangement of the popular standard "Star Eyes." Robert penned three originals for the session. The influence of Phil Woods is apparent in his gorgeous ballad "Fabienne," which is mostly a duet for alto sax and piano. His tricky hard bop vehicle "The Glider" showcases his soprano sax, where he seems to stay effortlessly in tune, something even the best players on the instrument struggle to do. "Rush Hour" is an uptempo blues that perfectly captures the hectic pace of urban life. George Robert has gone on to make many rewarding CDs as a leader, but this early effort should be considered essential as well.

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