Jon Gordon

The Things We Need

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This is a much more traditional jazz effort than Gordon's previous album, Currents. Featuring the leader on alto, Peter Bernstein on guitar, Mike LeDonne on piano, Dennis Irwin on bass, and Kenny Washington on drums, the record includes Gordon's compositions "Minor Dues" and "Stapleton," a bright waltz arrangement of "Isn't It Romantic," and a swinging version of the Milt Jackson blues "SKJ." Pianist Ronnie Mathews makes superb guest appearances on a pair of Monk tunes, "Monk's Dream" and "Ugly Beauty." The one very non-traditional element is the children's choir heard on "Without a Song," and Barry Harris's wholesome sermonette "These Are the Things We Need." Drummer Eddie Locke, who plays on these two tracks and on "SKJ," played Gordon a tape of the kids singing one day, and the rest is history. Despite the personal meaning that the choir's singing holds for Gordon (as he explains in his liner notes), it's hard not to hear it as a merely cute touch.

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