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Bobby Shew/Gary Foster and friends: Play the Music of Reed Kotler

Trumpeter Bobby Shew and reedist Gary Foster are veterans of various big bands, small groups and numerous studio gigs, and their double-CD release Bobby Shew, Gary Foster and Friends Play the Music of Reed Kotler (Torii) features attractive compositions conducive for soft-bop blowing. Shew and Foster are distinctive soloists, whether spinning out long phrases on “Night to Remember,” running through rhythm changes on “Coop” and “One for Smith” or playing “I Never Knew Clifford,” a piece in the style of Clifford Brown based on the changes of “I Never Knew.” The most moving pieces are the aching noirish ballad “Take Me With You,” the exotic mallets and alto flute of “A Distant Song,” the soulful “Blues for T.H.,” Bill Cunliffe’s harmonically rich solo piano performance of “Beautiful Evening” and the buoyant muted trumpet and flute work on “Calypso Bop.” The only real disappointment here is the cocktail lounge groove of “Tears for Evans.” Bill Evans deserves better.

Originally Published