Bobby Watson

The Year of the Rabbit

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This CD is a surprise success for it features the modern altoist Bobby Watson paying tribute to the great Johnny Hodges. Watson performs his own brief "Blues for Alto" plus nine ballads, blues and swing stomps associated with Hodges, using a group that mixes together his usual sidemen of the period (pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Curtis Lundy and drummer Kenny Washington), a few veterans (trumpeter Irv Stokes, trombonist Art Baron and guitarist Lawrence Lucie) and younger but compatible players (Bill Easley on tenor and clarinet plus baritonist Jim Hartog). Watson modifies his own style and, although not too closely imitative of Hodges, improvises close to his style. Highlights of the memorable set include "The Jeep Is Jumpin," "Jeep's Blues," "Honey Bunny" and "Things Ain't What They Used to Be."

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