As far as drummers go, Michael Carvin isn't a huge name in hard bop and post-bop -- he isn't as well known as Elvin Jones, Al Foster, Jack DeJohnette, or Max Roach. But many of the musicians Carvin has worked with really swear by the drummer, who is hard-swinging without being flashy and knows how to be sensitive to the needs of a soloist. That sensitivity is impossible to miss on Revelation, a solid post-bop date that Carvin recorded for Muse in 1989. Like so much of Art Blakey's work, Revelation favors a real, honest to God band sound -- "cohesive" is definitely the word that describes the acoustic sextet that Carvin leads on this CD, which employs Claudio Roditi and Cecil Bridgewater on trumpet, Sonny Fortune on alto sax and flute, Cyrus Chestnut on piano, and David Williams on upright bass. In terms of arrangements, you can't miss the strong Jazz Messengers influence on tunes that range from Clare Fischer's Latin-influenced "Morning" and Stanley Cowell's "Effi" to the overdone standard "Body and Soul." But Carvin isn't as consistently aggressive a drummer as Blakey; although Blakey is among Carvin's influences, the Houston native has also been influenced by Max Roach, Billy Higgins, and Elvin Jones. Unfortunately, Revelation went out of print when the Muse catalog was acquired by 32 Jazz, but this CD is well worth searching for if you're a lover of Jazz Messengers-influenced post-bop and hard bop.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson