John Nugent

Taurus People

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Taurus People features John Nugent, a sophisticated post-bop tenor player, in a quartet setting with pianist Bruce Barth, bassist Doug Weiss, and drummer Al Foster. Tenor/soprano icon David Liebman joins on four cuts, including two of the best-known Liebman originals, "Picadilly Lilly" and "Bright Piece." There's a lot of variety here; Nugent sounds equally comfortable on the beautiful Strayhorn ballad "Star-Crossed Lovers," the mid-tempo Monk classic "Monk's Dream," and the Brazilian standard "Beija Flor." However, these readings seem ordinary next to tracks like Dawn Thompson's "12 Tone Poem," not to mention the Liebman pieces. Some of the album's most vibrant music-making occurs on the very first track, Farouq Dawoud's "Taurus People." With Barth laying out, Nugent and Liebman lock horns on tenor, stating the Ornette Coleman-esque line in unison and each taking a solo. The stylistic contrasts are rich and the envelope is truly pushed. The rest of the record doesn't quite reach that level and seems a bit tentative in terms of direction.

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