For All Those Living
An accomplished player with an engaging, swinging style, Sheryl Bailey satisfies straight-ahead listeners on her sixth outing as a leader. Opening with the midtempo swinger “An Unexpected Turn,” she solos with relaxed aplomb while her stellar accompanists (pianist Jim Ridl, bassist Gary Wang and drummer Shingo Okudaira) cook on a low flame underneath. The gently swinging waltz-time title track—Bailey’s “prayer of hope for those of us walking around with the broken hearts that remain after losing a loved one to cancer or a long illness”—highlights her adeptness at chord melodies while revealing a distinct Pat Martino influence in her single-note lines. “A Muse Sings” is her beautiful ode to the late guitarist Jimmy Wyble, while “Masa’s Bag” is an uptempo blues-tinged romp named for fellow guitarist Masa Sasaki.
Bailey takes her time on “29-11,” an intriguing 5/4 number highlighted by Ridl’s thoughtfully riveting piano solo. “Wilkinsburg,” named for guitarist Jack Wilkins, is a mellow midtempo swinger with Ridl playing easy call-and-response with Bailey’s warm, melodic line. She acquits herself with tasteful Jim Hall-like restraint on the delicate waltz-time “For a Russian Princess,” then digs into “Moblin’,” named for tenor sax great Hank Mobley, with dark tones and hard-boppish authority. Another solidly swinging effort from the underrated guitarist.