September 1999

Mac, and Smokin' Section Gollehon
Live at the Blue Note
Half Note Records

This is the third outing for the veteran session trumpeter with the take-no-prisoners attitude. Smokin' Section is an apt band name, as no sooner is the stage announcer's intro delivered than Mac and the boys are off and sprinting, putting a raw blister on Nat Adderley's "Sticks." First up is baritone sax ace Ronnie Cuber, throwing down the gauntlet for Mac, whose muscular solo climaxes with a high note display that would do Cootie Williams proud. When he goes for the stratosphere on Lee Morgan's "Short Count," one is tempted to caution him to ease up a bit fella, the music'll still be there when you're done.

Gollehon's original, "Boulevard," is delivered against a storytelling landscape fraught with peril, until Cuber eases the tension with his warm essay. Other mates include John Hicks on piano, bassist Ron McClure, drummer Victor Jones, and guitarist Jeff Golub. The latter enters on the closing three tracks, and the date goes a bit left, romping through Jimi Hendrix and Jack Bruce tunes, lending a schizophrenic edge to the proceedings.

Originally published in September 1999

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