Although Idris Muhammad was employed as a sideman on his share of soul-jazz sessions in the '70s, the drummer hasn't been terribly visible as a leader. So it came as a pleasant surprise when, in 1993, he sat in the driver's seat for My Turn, a decent collection of jazz-pop, soul-jazz, and R&B employing such big names as Grover Washington, Jr. (tenor and soprano sax), Randy Brecker (trumpeter and flügelhorn), Hiram Bullock (electric guitar), and Bob James (electric keyboards). Not unlike the type of project Muhammad would have gone for in the '70s, My Turn is far from straight-ahead hard bop but isn't a so-called "elevator jazz" date either. R&B, pop, and funk considerations are emphasized, but not at the expense of improvisational freedom. Washington and Brecker get in some inspired solos on tunes ranging from pianist Neal Creqe's funky "Dracula" to Washington's congenial "Happenstance," and Muhammad does a nice job combining pop and soul's accessibility with jazz's spontaneity. Those who like their crossover meaty instead of fluffy should enjoy this CD.
My Turn Review
by Alex Henderson