Al Grey

Matzoh and Grits

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    8
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This was one of trombonist Al Grey's strongest sessions in a few years. 72 at the time, Grey is heard throughout in prime form, whether expertly using his plunger mute or playing in a boppish manner. Grey's sidemen on the swinging date are the sons of Al Cohn (guitarist Joe) and Gerry Wiggins (bassist J.J.), plus veteran drummer Bobby Durham and a pair of lesser-known but talented players: pianist Randolph Noel, who contributed "Exactly My Sentiments" and was responsible for the arrangements, and Cleve Guyton, whose best moments on the date are on flute (which blends quite well with the leader's trombone). Most of the music falls between swing and bop and is predictably excellent, with one of the main surprises being Grey's exuberant scat singing on "Cotton Tail." Other highlights include "Jumpin' With Symphony Sid," "I Got It Bad" and "Caravan." The high-quality playing throughout the set is full of sly humor and spirit, just what one expects of the great Al Grey.

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