Well, Dan -- a number of hits, a few misses, and almost no pegs.
Apologies for taking three weeks to get to this, month got away, but the reasons are good (music!). I need to preface, on a streak of shit sleep, so advance apologies for anything particularly stupid that is said by way of observation.
Track 01 - This is some happy music. Not sure what, but I'm here for it. I mean, obvious guess would be Tito. I have nothing pushing me there besides genre and timbales, but this is what his band sounded like when I saw it. Kind of hoping Mario Rivera's tenor will show up. *Could* be Steve Turre, so I'm not giving up on Tito. Alas, no Mario tenor. I find this music fun to play, fun to listen to, and absolutely miserable to read. Hmmm... that sure sounds like Hilton Ruiz on piano.
Track 02 - Love that drum intro. I mean, no new ground being broken here, but I'm FINE with that. This has what I like. Those drums are a bit heavy, but it works. In fact, I think it's a compliment. I saw Ralph Peterson lay this down with Benny Golson's Blakey tribute band one night. Second set. It was WAY different than the first. When RP went here, the guy next to me said, "Here we go! They must gone out and got somethin' between sets." These are good vibes. Trumpet is familiar if underwhelming. Maybe Randy Brecker? Don't know the alto, but it's a real voice. The way I WANT Kenny Garrett to play. I'll take a full plate of this with all the sides. Mmh. I *do* loathe that ending, though.
Track 03 - Sounds like someone a bit smitten. I'm not sure I'm fully buying the story (compared to the last cut). Can't put my finger on this. Tenor reminds me of Hadley Caliman later in life, but less bite. There's nothing *wrong* here, but there's something about those double-time runs... the rhythm is just a tick off. It's pleasant enough, but not sure I'd give it multiple spins. Seems to suffer from that edge that a lot of the Concord stuff suffers from, to my ear.
Track 04 - Sounds like Bergonzi to me. I saw him interviewed where he said he never listens to his own stuff after it's recorded. I think he should. This just doesn't sound personal to me. I'll take the last cut, despite my criticisms. Tenor here is clearly a really solid musician (has that Eric Alexander thing going on, but the sound seems more like Bergonzi). Again, nothing wrong with it, just not hitting the right spots for me. Strangled altissimo on cue, not a single note out of place. I wish there was one. Doesn't feel like these guys are communicating. Drums lack dynamics and in general, almost sounds like horn was recorded separate from rhythm section (like, different takes).
Track 05 - 10 seconds in, this has all the last cut was missing. I mean, I'm not saying this is Kind of Blue, but it feels a lot more real than the last track. Love the arrangement. Losing me as it goes on. A lot of affectation, but I'm not really feeling the message. Actually reminds me of Bleeding Gums Murphy on the Simpsons. A talented player who at times seems to lack taste (boy, I'm a bastard today, huh?). A reasonable listen, but preferred the ensemble portions to the improv.
Track 06 - Early on, I was hoping we'd gotten an Abdullah Ibrahim cut. I'm kind of diggin' the 2nd-line Bebop. Tenor could be Ralph Bowen. I give full props for taking a different approach to this tune. Not blown away by any of the soloists, but not turned off, either. Alto player is a little too affected. Has that thing that make me nuts about both Garrett and Rudresh. Forget the name and just play, man. Seems like since they've gone to the "swing" feel, they've lost what they built in this tune. This could be anybody playing anything. Unfortunate, because they had really developed something. Liking the bass. Drum break was appropriately short. All around, just feels a little clean to me.
Track 07 - That's Robert Stewart. No question. I think this might be the record I DON'T have. Certainly post-Coltrane with a huge debt to be paid, but he's got a voice. It's him. I'm sure most of you have seen that NPR article where they tried to quantify what we appreciate about "swing". I don't think it CAN be quantified. This has it. It's definitely derivitive, but they also mean it. I'm hedging my bets... this could be the earlier record with Revelations (doesn't get quite as much play in my rotation), but I'm thinking it's newer. Uh -- at the end the influence of his teacher (Pharoah) comes out. Without listening to decide, I'm thinking it might be from The Force (one I have) or Heaven and Earth (which I DON'T have).
Track 08 - Sounds like Ernie Andrews on vocals, which is always a win. So, this must be the Gene entry. Sounds like Teddy Edwards on tenor, later.
Track 09 - Full Concord. So much so that I'm guessing that's George Mraz. It's a fun ride. Thinking maybe Red Holloway or... maybe Scott Hamilton. Another, not-new-ground-but-they-mean-it entry. It's got that sound (again, guessing Concord) that fights me, but the band is cookin'. Sometimes that hard shuffle is a miss for me, but every time it's been on this BFT, it's been a win.
Track 10 - Tickle-Toe. Aw, yeah. The real guys. Sure sounds like Zoot, and pretty sure I heard Buddy Tate on the head. Second tenor is definitely Buddy. Okay, that's Al Cohn. Sleuthing tells me that Mr. Hamilton fooled me on the Zoot guess, which should make him proud. I freely admit to having nowhere near enough sample of Scott Hamilton's output. Educate me, dudes -- what do I NEED? McKenna. Like to think I'd have gotten him without the sleuth job. So I'm assuming it's this.
Track 11 - Something is missing here. Everything feels a tick off, rhythmically. Could be Bobby Shew on flugelhorn. Doesn't sound like they're listening to one another. Flugel is... it's a tick behind -- the rhythm is lagging. If not for that, I might say David Weiss on flugelhorn, but... I dunno, this just isn't clicking. Digging the bass. That drum kit is over-mic'd; no subtlety to it at all. Something almost sounds like Billy Higgins in the snare, but nothing else about it. Maybe Farnsworth? Mark Ferber? I like the harmony of the tune, but the rhythm just misses, and it seems to be everybody.
Always an education when I take your BFTs.