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Rodney Jones: Dreams and Stories

Two words–“Kenny Kirk-land”–recommend Dreams and Stories, a previously unreleased 1983 session led by Rodney Jones. Together with Jeff “Tain” Watts and bassist Marc Johnson, the late, great Kirkland joined Jones in the studio at a time when Wynton had barely begun his ascent. Jones had already recorded as a leader, but Dreams and Stories captures him in his mid-20s and definitely at an early stage.

In the liner notes he recalls playing the entire session with his thumb, in the style of George Benson and Wes Montgomery. This affords him an excellent tone but stifles his fluidity to a degree. On “Star Eyes” he sounds notey and flustered, seldom pausing for “breath.” There is also a reading of “The Song Is You” and a bright “Summertime” arrangement that continues to give Jones mileage (he brought it to drummer Ray Marchica’s recent Sons of Sound outing In the Ring). Most of the tracks are original, including the waltz “Leena’s Song,” the ballads “Blue Days, Blue Dreams” and “Serena” and the blues heads “Happy Blue,” “Five for the Duck” and “Blues When You Need Them.” On “Serena,” with its sparse whole-note melody, a more restrained and mature Jones seems to enter the room.

Originally Published