December 1999

Harold Ashby
Just For You
Mapleshade Productions

Tenor saxophonist Harold Ashby, best known for his work with Duke Ellington in the late '60s to mid '70s, leads a quartet here with pianist John Hicks, bassist Keeter Betts, and drummer Jimmy Cobb. Ashby's heard to best advantage on ballads and moderate tempoed tunes, displaying his full, breathy tone; he's quite reminiscent of Ben Webster. On the faster selections, such as "Stampash", he sounds shaky. He's contributed some attractive originals, including "Reminiscing" and "Just for You," to the date, though.

The laudable Hicks normally plays with more modern musicians than Ashby, but adjusts nicely and turns in some swinging, intelligent solos of his own. Betts and Cobb move things along smoothly and unobtrusively.

Originally published in December 1999
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