It Amazes Me
For reasons not always clear to listeners, some musicians remain underappreciated for years while others with only a modicum of talent have all the career breaks. It Amazes Me, the first leader recording in more than two decades by alto and tenor saxophonist-singer Bob Mover (recorded in 2006), should cause many to ask why. It’s Mover’s playing on both saxes that will have many wondering how this man could so long have been flying under the radar. His world-weary vocals on six of the CD’s 10 tracks won’t attract that much excitement, yet are deeply felt and conveyed, if somewhat of an acquired taste.
With superb support from pianist Kenny Barron, late bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer Steve Williams, plus Canadian guitarist Reg Schwager on four tracks and Russian tenor saxophonist Igor Butman on one, Mover sails through this 67-1/2-minute batch of mostly standard fare, some not all that widely known, with swinging grace and creative fervor in a modern style slightly influenced by all the usual suspects, yet always clearly of his own making, particularly in the way notes cascade from his horns. If one needs guideposts to be pulled into this music, try Mover’s intense tenor work on the second track, “I Believe in You,” or his two-tenor joust with Butman on the lone Mover original, “Erkin,” written for co-producer Erkin Bek. It’s not that his alto is on the back burner, of course, as will be obvious on the opening “How Little We Know” and “Stairway to the Stars.”
Fans already know that Barron doesn’t make bad recordings, even in a support role, so one needn’t go into much detail regarding his work here. Suffice it to say that he’s always there behind Mover with the right stuff, as well as offering beautiful solo moments. Schwager should also be heard more, as his playing on “People Will Say We’re in Love” and “Sometime Ago” will indicate.