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Ralph Lalama: Music for Grown-Ups

This is a meaty hard bop session characterized by the tenor man’s burly tone and classic masculine phrasing (shades of Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins). The rhythm section is a dream: pianist Richard Wyands, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer Kenny Washington. The album opens with Frank Loesser’s “I’ve Never Been in Love Before” in a captivating two-beat groove. “Blue Gardenia,” with Wyands’ sparkling ballad intro (shades of Sonny Clark), is also a winner. In fact, there are no losers here. Definitely an album to get.

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