It is certainly an inspired idea for these prodigious musicians to combine their gifts and to collaborate on some of the most consequential music of the 20th century – composed by none other than Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver, Joe Sample and Rogers and Hart. As an unsurprising bonus these performances a fabulous as well, with Jarrett Carter’s guitar often playing lead character to what Wayne Shorter’s saxophone and Horace Silver’s piano, until the guitarist is joined in by the wonderful saxophonist Sarah Lee and trumpet and flugelhorn player Steve Strawley, that is.
The durability of this musical collaboration of Blue Muse and their familiarity with this music gives it a freedom and flexibility that risks translation into mannered performance in many modern recordings that came after the originals. Here, though, it is energetic and focused but never aggressive, newly polished with a view to re-establishing the music’s relevance in the brave new world. Together the partnership of the individuals that make up the group offers a free-flowing, flexible approach to these classic works. The tonal range established by the horns encompasses the dynamic colours of the originals, with the guitarist adding a certain radiant vibrancy, impulsiveness and a rangy expansiveness as well.
Thus this classic music that soared through the 1960s is reborn with full-throated, expressive flexibility and still rocks and swings with abandon as it did when it was first aired by the great pioneers modern music – such as Mr Shorter and Mr Silver came to embody. And hats off to Blue Music for also reminding us just how vital this music continues to be.
Track list – 1: One by One; 2: It Never Entered My Mind; 3: Nutville; 4: Sweet n’ Sour; 5: Freedom Sound; 6: Ping Pong
Personnel – Jarrett Carter: guitar; Javian Francis: piano; Cody Wheaton: bass; John Medico: drums; Jack Miller: drums; Sarah Lee: tenor saxophone; Steve Strawley: trumpet and flugelhorn
Released – 2021
Label – Independent
Runtime – 41:18