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Doug Lawrence: Street Wise

Veteran tenor man Doug Lawrence’s third album as a leader, Street Wise (Alltribe), is also his second to feature the classic tenor/organ lineup. With Dan Trudell on the Hammond B3, Ray Macchiarola on guitar and George Fludas on drums, Lawrence and his cohorts once again evoke the comfortable ambience of that special kind of smoky, late-night jazz club where such groups once flourished. In what is essentially a freewheeling blowing session, the players use the nicely varied tunes as a context for enthusiastic, unpretentious improvisations. Included in the program are Brother Jack McDuff’s gritty blues “Mellow Gravy,” Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson’s blazing “Mr. Clean” and Lucky Thompson’s Latin-influenced “Spanyola.” Lawrence contributed an uptempo hard-bop number, “What For,” himself. In general, Lawrence’s big, smooth sound and pre-Coltrane approach is somewhat suggestive of Dexter Gordon. And that he knows how to treat a ballad is evident from his performance of “A Portrait of Jennie,” where his low register, breathy tone and sultry phrasing attest to his respect for a noble tenor tradition.

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