Bob Stewart

Then & Now

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Tuba player Bob Stewart's CD came out about the same time as Howard Johnson's Gravity release, and Stewart suffers by comparison. Bluesman Taj Mahal contributed the much too talky "Big Kneed Gal" and very tedious "Fishin' Blues." Carlos Ward's "Nubian Stomp" is at best uninspired reggae, while his street strut "Nette" barely gains headway in spite of trumpeter Graham Haynes' spirited solo. Stewart's originals and handling of standards fare much better. Both "funk" and "Hambone" get his group cooking. Jelly Roll Morton's "King Porter Stomp" gets a refreshing update, including the addition of a French horn. But it is the slowly savored arrangement of "You Don't Know What Love Is," featuring Stewart with pianist Dave Burrell, that takes top honors.

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