Lush Life (CD)


Lou Donaldson

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Amoeba Review

John Schacht 07/07/2010

This 1967 Blue Note date is one of Lou Donaldson’s more intriguing since it finds the alto saxophonist in a nonet featuring Duke Pearson’s always engaging orchestral arrangements. Used to playing in quartets and quintets primarily during his solo career, Donaldson is also joined here by a who’s who of 60s’ jazz talent: Wayne Shorter on tenor sax, Pepper Adams on baritone sax, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Ron Carter, Al Harewood on drums, Jerry Dodgon on flute (and second alto), and trombonist Garnett Brown. The program consists of blues-based ballads and standards, all benefitting extensively from Pearson’s compelling arranging touch. “Sweet Slumber” finds the horns and reeds engaged in counter-point to vary the traditional blues format, while “You’ve Changed” takes on a distinct Ellingtonian feel, as do old warhorses like “The Good Life,” “Star Dust” and “It Might As Well Be Spring.” What seduces beyond Pearson’s arrangements is hearing these players – many of them pushing jazz into uncharted territory at this time – performing the basics with such obvious aplomb. Donaldson, of course, was not as adventurous as some of his colleagues here and more used to standard fare, and thus he sounds right at home. But hearing, for instance, Tyner eschew his percussive comping style for lyrical fills is a treat, as is listening to Carter play it straight without sacrificing his brilliant timing or imagination. Hubbard and Shorter aren’t featured as soloists much, but when they are each reign in their adventurous sides to fit right in with the laid-back vibe. But in the end it’s Donaldson – out front on most tracks and blowing with pure glee – and Pearson’s marvelous arrangements that make this an enjoyable, if not essential, entry in any jazz collection.



Track Listing



Disc 1 Titles
Artist
Length
1.
Sweet Slumber
Lou Donaldson 05:54
2.
You've Changed
Lou Donaldson 04:21
3.
The Good Life
Lou Donaldson 04:52
4.
Stardust
Lou Donaldson 03:37
5.
What Will I Tell My Heart?
Lou Donaldson 04:23
6.
It Might as Well Be Spring
Lou Donaldson 05:55
7.
Sweet and Lovely
Lou Donaldson 05:58

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