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Al Green/Othello Anderson Quintet: Mr. Lucky

Nearly every city of any size has excellent jazz musicians who, for whatever reasons, seldom venture far from home and are all but unknown much beyond the city limits. Al Green and Othello Anderson are two such players. Green, a forthright drummer, and Anderson, an alto saxophonist with astringency in his tone, play bebop. Their album Mr. Lucky is good Chicago bop untouched by hipper-than-thou harmonic extensions or look-at-me displays of technique.

Green and Anderson’s repertoire is as solid as their playing: “All the Things You Are,” “Ceora,” “Strollin’,” “Stella by Starlight,” “My Funny Valentine,” among other standards and postbop staples. Dr. Odies Williams III, who must practice trumpet at least as conscientiously as he does medicine, is on several tracks. He is an accomplished soloist in the Clifford Brown-Lee Morgan tradition. The veteran Jodie Christian plays piano on two pieces, but for the most part, Green’s rhythm section partners are the pianist Leandro Lopez Varady, a talented Argentine newcomer, and bassist John Whitfield, a Chicago stalwart.

Green and Anderson rented Delmark’s studio to record what they intended to be their private-label production. The Delmarkians liked what they heard so much that they arranged to release the album nationally-a good move. Mr. Lucky is an honest, satisfying collection.

Originally Published