Cecil Payne: Scotch and Milk

Though slowed by frequent ill health and no longer able to carry a date alone, through the sheer joy of playing and the craft built from years on the bebop campaign trail, baritonist extraordinaire Cecil Payne is still on the one. Where the stamina is limited, the art and the heart are still firmly intact. Delmark has done Payne a solid turn by surrounding him with simpatico players who bring their own sense of joy to framing and playing foil to the leader.

Payne’s collaborators on this date include a somewhat disparate but effective cast of Delmark tenor men Eric Alexander and Lin Halliday, master Detroit trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Jone Ore and drummer Joe Farnsworth. Based on “Cherokee,” the clever “Git Sac,” one of seven Payne originals, makes clear Payne’s still cunning way around a baritone.