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Chip White All-Star Ensemble: More Dedications, Volume II

White’s current mainstay is the drum chair in Houston Person’s group and has a substantial history as a high level jazz drummer, mostly in straight ahead situations. White has once again established himself as a fine band leader in this vein with this release, which rivals his 1994 Harlem Sunset for sustainable quality, and is well worthy of attention.

Each of the nine originals by the drummer is dedicated to a different major jazz figure, but none sound forced into their style or dated. Some of the chord progressions are recognizably associated with the particular master; like the very fresh new melody over Joy Spring’s changes. Mulgrew Miller, Steve Nelson, and Peter Washington fill out the rhythm section and maintain their high reputations in the process, but the horn players provide work that will enhance theirs. Wycliffe Gordon’s trombone solos are consistently creative, with unexpected and successfully executed turns of phrasing throughout. Trumpeter Duane Eubanks delivers by far the best performance I have heard from him on record or in person, and Patience Higgins is outstanding on soprano and alto sax and flute.

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