Steve Grossman

Time to Smile

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This outing is one of tenor-saxophonist Steve Grossman's finest recordings to date. He has mixed together the almost equal influences of John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins to achieve his own style and sound. The program is quite strong with its superior yet generally underplayed standards joined by two of the leader's originals, Elvin Jones's "E.J.'s Blues" and Freddie Redd's "Time to Smile"; also the lineup of musicians would be difficult to top. Pianist Willie Pickens shows a lot of versatility on the hard bop-oriented music, trumpeter Tom Harrell (who is on around half of the tracks) is as fiery and alert as usual, bassist Cecil McBee has a strong musical personality that comes across even when restricted to accompanying the soloists, and drummer Elvin Jones remains in prime form. The main focus however is mostly on Grossman and he continues to grow as an improviser year-by-year. Highly recommended.

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