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Benny Powell: Nextep

It’s most encouraging to hear some of jazz’s senior citizens (Sonny Rollins, James Moody, Lee Konitz, Clark Terry and Hank Jones, among others) remaining active and creative in their sunset years. At age 78, trombonist Benny Powell may have lost a step or two with regard to his solo work on Nextep, his first recording in five years, yet he’s still out there offering an abundance of music worth hearing with an often sprightly, burnished sound, and is clearly not slowing down.

With widely varied music tinged by New Orleans, South African, Brazilian and Caribbean rhythms, the blues and bop, Powell and sidemen T.K. Blue, alto and soprano saxes, flute; Sayuri Goto, piano; Essiet O. Essiet, bass, and Billy Hart, drums, move through this batch of original works with a relaxed grace and charm. Of particular interest throughout are the solos of Blue (Kalib Kibwe), who negotiates each of his instruments with verve, easygoing energy and feeling.

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