Venerable jazz bassist and session musician of choice, Buster Williams steers this thoroughly swinging quartet through a set of vibrant standards and original compositions along with an ace front line consisting of pianist Mulgrew Miller and vibist Steve Nelson. Recorded live in 1999 at the Montreux Jazz Festival, the bassist once again exhibits his seasoned musical persona via fluent lines, limber soloing, and a comprehensive sense of swing. Meanwhile, Nelson and Miller share most of the soloing opportunities as they consistently demonstrate a keen harmonic relationship atop drummer Carl Allen's masterstrokes and the leader's sinewy walking bass patterns.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. Alto sax player, arranger, and composer Buster Smith recorded sparingly during his career and this seven-track set, recorded in a single session on June 7, 1959 and released by Atlantic Records a month or two later, was the only album Smith did as a bandleader. It's a low key, pleasant affair featuring five original Smith compositions, including the lightly swinging "Buster's Tune" and the odd, wonderfully disjointed "King Alcohol," as well as versions of Kurt Weill's "September Song" and Will Hudson's "Organ Grinder's Swing."
John Hicks is heard with his working trio on what is likely his final recording, made two months to the day prior to his unexpected death. With bassist Buster Williams and drummer Louis Hayes, also seasoned veterans and bandleaders themselves, the set list for this well-recorded studio session is a hard bop lover's feast, drawing from both familiar and less frequently heard repertoire. Hicks throws quite a few curves into Gigi Gryce's "Minority" by tossing in a few vamps then getting right to business with improvising rather than bothering to offer a chorus of its theme, with Williams' fleet bassline and Hayes' brushwork powering him in full flight. The leader's sole original is a salute to Cedar Walton, an upbeat piece called "As Birds Fly (Walton's Mountain)" in which the musicians easily scale its heights. The bassist contributed two originals, including the lush, somewhat moody "Strivers Jewels" and the delicate tribute to his then-young niece "Christina." Hayes is an asset throughout the recording, particularly standing out in the powerful interpretation of Dexter Gordon's "Cheesecake".
Hot Licks, Rhythms and Grooves is a journey through 30 years of my musical life. I touch on many different styles and approaches to playing lead and rhythm guitar. My goal as a player is to expand these perimeters and express what I feel musically. My goal as a teacher is to present this in such a manner that you can absorb it, play it and then use the ideas and take them to new places. I hope you find this musical adventure to be as enjoyable for you to learn from as it was for me to make.