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Alec Dankworth : If You’re Passing By…

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In an era of hyperbole run riot, modesty can be a most becoming attribute. Alec Dankworth-yes, the son of British saxophonist John Dankworth and vocal icon Cleo Laine-fronts a delightfully restrained trio on If You’re Passing By … that mirrors the bassist’s appealing quiet-as-it’s-kept nature.

In contrast to the Generation Big Band that Dankworth has co-led with his father, Alec’s own trio generates its compact strength from the contributions of just two other highly regarded British players, guitarist Phil Robson and saxophonist Julian Arguelles. Interspersing Dankworth’s attractive originals with accommodating offerings from an eclectic crew (Bobby Troup, Abdullah Ibrahim, Jan Garbarek and Dave Brubeck), Passing By trains its brightest light on ensemble cohesiveness rather than individual instrumental prowess. (The leader’s moment in the sun, the unaccompanied “Minuet for Ray,” is just over a minute and a half.)

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