Don Braden

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On tenor saxophonist Don Braden's second recording as a leader he adds trombonist Steve Turre to the group that played on Braden's debut -- trumpeter Tom Harrell, pianist Benny Green, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Carl Allen -- to perform four originals, two standards, and two jazz classics. Braden's compositions and arrangements are filled with harmonic and rhythmic twists and turns that make the music fresh, especially where the entire sextet is featured. Braden's "Father Time" begins with a brief collective improvisation that segues into a medium-fast groove. Braden's arrangement of "When You Wish Upon a Star" is characterized by numerous shifts between 3/4 and 4/4 throughout the piece, which gives it a different flavor. Braden's "Mr C.M.B.," a dedication to McBride, begins with Harrell and Turre playing a medium-fast melody in 4/4 that's reminiscent of "Mr. P.C.," with Braden answering them in the slower 3/4 middle section, with all the horns joining in on the final section. Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady," normally played as a ballad, is transformed into finger poppin' swing, while the standard "Falling in Love With Love" is taken at a much faster tempo than usual. Braden's distinctive tenor sound and improvisational ideas stand out throughout this recording, as does McBride's big-toned bass and Allen's dynamic drumming. This is one of 1993's best releases, and is a great step in Braden's rapid development.

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