Jerry Weldon

Midtown Blues

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Journeyman Jerry Weldon leads his quartet and his quintet through a live set, which, if largely undistinguished, is nonetheless a fine example of modern hard bop. Weldon is well-known as a sideman, having recorded with Lionel Hampton, Al Grey and Harry Connick, Jr., not to mention the New York Hard Bop Quintet, of which he is a founding member. The group found here is a reworked version of that quintet, with Weldon clearly at the helm. The recording has the feel of a jam session, with Weldon taking long solos of strong quality. He sounds best (as does the other horn player, trumpeter Joe Magnarelli, who sits in on four cuts) on the up-tempo numbers, such as Jackie McLean's "Midtown Blues" or Weldon's own "Waat." The slower numbers, such as "The End of a Love Affair," lack the same emotional depth.

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