Mike LeDonne

Then and Now

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Pianist Mike LeDonne expands to a quintet and features mostly original material on his second Double-Time release. The players represent the cream of New York's neo-bop rat pack: tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, trumpeter Jim Rotondi, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer Joe Farnsworth. LeDonne's compositions generally draw upon sounds from decades past. "Trane Song," for instance, is loosely based on Coltrane's "Crescent"; "Insight" is strongly reminiscent of "Seven Steps to Heaven"; "Seeds" and the title track feature the kind of charging, hard bop frontline that Freddie Hubbard used to favor on his '60s Blue Note albums. Interestingly, LeDonne's most original move is his mid-tempo 6/4 arrangement of Herbie Hancock's "Sorceror," a tune usually played in a blistering four. More straightforward but equally virtuosic is LeDonne's trio rendition of "'Round Midnight."

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