Dwayne Dolphin

Portrait of Adrian

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A mostly typical neo-hard bop release from the '90s, only led by a bassist instead of the usual pianist or horn player. Dolphin's tone is round and full, and he's got an agile technique. Certainly the late Paul Chambers must have been an influence; like Chambers, Dolphin tends to place his unfussy improvisations in the instrument's lower register. Consequently, his lines are solidly melodic and generally to the point. Pianist Geri Allen comps well and plays nice solos; saxophonist Ravi Coltrane is technically able if unspectacular; and drummer Roger Humphries swings hard in a Jimmy Cobb-ish kinda way. Indeed, the tone of this record is heavily indebted to Miles Davis' late-'50s groups, of which Chambers, Cobb, and Ravi's dad, John, were a part. Trumpeter Michael Mossman is more of an extrovert than Miles (Mossman also plays a decent trombone), but in terms of tune selection and arrangements -- not to mention the improvisation styles of the other participants -- this band sometimes sounds like an attempted recreation of that group. It's not as interesting; copies seldom surpass the original. But it is competently played and attractive enough, and if you're inclined to buy albums that remind you of jazz's golden age, you could do worse than this.

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