Clarence Penn

Penn's Landing

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On drummer Clarence Penn's debut as a leader, he has gathered the talents of bassist Rodney Whitaker, tenor saxophonist Ron Blake, and trumpeter John Swana to perform seven post-bop originals -- three by Penn, two by Blake, and one each by Swana and Whitaker -- with satisfying results. The underrated Swana and Blake play with passion and great skill as always but, due to the absence of piano, Penn's muscular drumming and Whitaker's huge-toned bass consistently stand out throughout this recording. Favorites include the up-tempo burners "C.P. Time" and "Quick Fix"; "One for Tony," Whitaker's dedication to the late drummer Tony Williams; and the medium-tempo title track, Penn's homage to John Coltrane and Elvin Jones, which captures the spirit of these great musicians without resorting to imitation. All in all, this is a fine debut that makes one eager for Penn's next one.

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