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One For All: The Lineup

The collectively led New York sextet One for All released its first two discs on Sharp Nine in the late ’90s. The band returns to the label with The Lineup, a potent session made up mostly of band originals. Personnel shifts have been minimal over the years, making this an unusually cohesive unit-with Eric Alexander on tenor, Jim Rotondi on trumpet, Steve Davis on trombone, David Hazeltine on piano, John Webber on bass and Joe Farnsworth on drums. These are gifted soloists and seasoned ensemble players who bring clarity to each arrangement, fire and dynamism to every solo exchange.

The program begins with two of Alexander’s charts: the brisk, harmonically offbeat “Anatolia” and the fetching midtempo “Little Lucas.” Hazeltine steps forward with the melody and a substantial solo feature on the rhythmically tweaked “Sweet and Lovely,” the album’s only standard. In a satisfying twist, Hazeltine switches to Rhodes for Rotondi’s “Downtown Sounds” and again later on Davis’ “Smooth”-both in a straight-eighth feel with a loungey flavor. There’s also a Davis ballad (“Letter to Mary”), a minor-key swinger by Hazeltine (“The Lineup”) and a second Rotondi piece (“Express Train”). In all, it’s a worthy and representative effort by New York’s premier hard-bop supergroup.

Originally Published