Rick Fay, on his previous release Poetry And Jazz, had effectively combined his poetry readings with trad jazz. On Words Among The Reeds, Fay verbally pays tribute to some of his favorite musicians, and then plays one of the songs associated with each artist. Included are his homages to Zutty Singleton, Bix Beiderbecke, Johnny Mercer, Eddie Miller, Bobby Hackett, Herschel Evans, Wild Bill Davison, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Muggsy Spanier, and Coleman Hawkins. While the talking is heartfelt, it is the music that makes this a recommended disc. Fay manages to play in a variety of styles on tenor, soprano, and clarinet (emulating Miller, Hawkins and Sidney Bechet in spots) and there are also fine solo spots for flugelhornist Jackie Coon, trombonist Dan Barrett, and pianist Johnny Varro. The music is swinging and joyful, with highlights including "Singin' The Blues," "Lazy Mood," "'Wild Man Blues," and Coleman Hawkins' "Spotlite."
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow