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Don Lanphere: Jazz Worship 2 “Free Indeed”

This one’s a sleeper, but should not be ignored. Lanphere recorded in 1949 with Fats Navarro, Al Haig, Tommy Potter and Max Roach; joined Woody Herman that same year, replacing Jimmy Giuffre; then recorded with Artie Shaw’s big band and Gramercy Five. He re-joined Herman 1959-61 as tenor sax soloist, and in the ’80s toured the U.S. and Europe with his quintet. Today, he performs often at Christian-oriented schools and universities.

This self-produced CD-solid mainstream jazz-demonstrates that he remains a fluent and lyrical soloist (also on soprano and alto) and a fine arranger. It also reminds us that jazz can be a meaningful and entirely appropriate part of religious expression. Selections include Mary Lou Williams’ “Act of Contrition,” “Heaven” by Duke Ellington, and the spiritual, “Let Us Break Bread Together.” Other performers include the virtuoso cornetist Jonathan Pugh, who wrote “Free Indeed,” and Roger Treece, vocals, who wrote “Assurance.” Marc Seales, keyboards; Dough Miller, bass and John Bishop, drums, cook up hard-driving swing, and, with Dave Peterson’s guitar, get into a funky-blues groove on “How Great Thou Art.” Pat Wright contributes a soulful gospel-influenced vocal.

Originally Published