23 March 2006
DUKE PEARSON - THE PHANTOM
A monster of an lp from pianist Duke Pearson -- a darkly-tinged album of grooves that surpasses all his other gems for Blue Note! The record showcases some great work from Bobby Hutcherson -- slid into the mix in a really sly way, so that his jazzy vibes color all the tunes with an edgey feeling that's missing from most of Duke's other albums. The group's fairly large -- with Jerry Dodgion on flute and alto, Sam Brown and Al Gafa on guitar, plus added Latin percussion from Potato Valdez on a number of tracks -- but although the larger group format often made for softer edges on other Pearson sessions from the time, the mix here is quite different -- at a level that works in complicated rhythms, rich colors and tones, and warm harmonics that have a slightly unsettling undercurrent. The album's worth it alone for the mighty title cut "The Phantom" -- but the rest is still fantastic!