Leon Lee Dorsey

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This is an intriguing debut as a leader for bassist Leon Lee Dorsey. Dorsey, who has played with everyone from Benny Carter and Freddie Hubbard to Oliver Lake and Don Pullen, has really put together two CDs in one. The first six selections are very modern originals which feature his quintet (starring an inspired Vincent Herring on alto and soprano and the hard-toned tenor of Don Braden, along with pianist Lafayette Harris Jr. and drummer Cecil Brooks) in top form. While "Miles," which has plenty of simultaneous fiery improvising by the two saxes, does not really remind one of Miles Davis' music, it is quite memorable, as is the haunting ballad "I Am With You Always," which features Herring's soprano as the lead voice. The second half of the program (a blues "Centre Avenue Shuffle," three standards, and Ron Carter's "United") are more straight-ahead and give the principals an opportunity to really swing hard within an older format. Dorsey, who only takes a couple of long solos (most notably on "Misty"), is generous in allocating the spotlight, but is clearly responsible for this colorful session's success.

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