Samba for Felix
By opening with a blistering, way-up "Samba for Felix," featuring take-no-prisoners solos by altoman Gary Bartz, pianist Tommy Flanagan, and guitarist Paul Bollenback, over a teeming foundation provided by bassist/composer Tommy Cecil, drummer Billy Hart, and percussionist Cyro Baptista, this disc can be certain that it has captured the listener's attention. Only then does it settle down to a comfortably relaxed "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." Flanagan and Bartz, this time on soprano, are the soloists on this one, but Cecil's bright, fusion-inspired "You're So Retro" showcases Bollenback, Bartz on alto, and Flanagan in hot solos and fours with Hart. Ivan Lins' "Ce," a medium bossa, throws Bartz's McLeanian intonation into the spotlight, while the brighter paced Cecil samba, "Cavalier," displays the bassist as well as more guitar and alto. Other tunes include Lerner and Loewe's "The Heather on the Hill," a ballad voiced by Bartz's soprano and Flanagan, in a superbly swinging, double-timed solo, and Cecil's "Perspective Changes" and "Pastorale," on which Flanagan once more scores highly.