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May 2000

Adonis Rose
The Unity
Criss Cross Jazz

With Adonis Rose, Miles Davis' mid-'60s quintet is the touchstone. The title stems what is essentially a Nicholas Payton quintet date with flipping the leadership script to the drummer. Payton's sumptuous skills are served up in heaping portions. He is joined on the frontline by underrated tenorman Tim Warfield, with pianist Anthony Wonsey and bassist Reuben Rogers augmenting Rose's rhythm section exploits. Here, too, the drumming, though forceful at appropriate times, is more concerned with enhancing the program than with seizing the spotlight. Two of Wayne Shorter's gems, a blowout "Dolores" and the lovely "Anna Maria," highlight the date, with Rose's title track and "Tonk" deepening his debt to Shorter's writing style. Labeling The Unity a blowing date is not to denigrate it.

Originally published in May 2000
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