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July/August 2001

Doug Raney Trio
You Go to My Head
SteepleChase

Doug Raney is the son of the late bebop guitar master Jimmy Raney. But whereas Jimmy's playing often had an aura of cool control, Doug's coveys a sense of freedom and even spontaneous improvisational experimentation, something that comes across during the course of this set of trio performances with drummer Billy Hart and bassist Jay Anderson.

While the material encompasses eight familiar tunes, the playing is hardly pedestrian or formulaic, a standard that is established from the opening track, a rousing reading of Cole Porter's "What Is This Thing Called Love?" which features plenty of beautifully fluid blowing and includes a deft, highly active bass solo and some killer trades. Changes of pace are provided by numbers like the perennial ballad "Tenderly" and Jobim's "Triste"; in both cases, the sophisticated, melodic solos occasionally lapse into some especially sleek chordal episodes. The set concludes with Parker's "Barbados," a Latin/bebop amalgamation that offers the best of both worlds by allowing Raney to exercise more of his melodic gifts while grooving at the same time.

It's often said that the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree; however, Doug seems to have dropped at the base and then rolled off in his own musical direction. But isn't that the way things ought to be?

Originally published in July/August 2001
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