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Avery Sharpe: Legends & Mentors: The Music of McCoy Tyner, Archie Shepp, and Yusef Lateef

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Here bassist Avery Sharpe invokes the musical spirit of three living masters, but rather than imitate, he pays tribute in his own voice. In doing so, he both honors them and creates anew atop the foundations they have laid.

The program follows a consistent pattern throughout: a Sharpe original, written in honor of the artist being feted, is followed by two selections from the honoree’s oeuvre. In myriad subtle ways, Sharpe creates aural landscapes that effectively summon the spirit of the musicians they’re meant to praise: Examples lie in the forward-surging metric shifts of “Big Mac,” his Tyner tribute; the tempered balance between melodicism and astringent polytonality in “The Chief,” his paean to Shepp; and his canny meld of meditative spirituality, sensual urgency and playful joy in the Afro-centric “Gentle Giant (Bro Lateef).” Sharpe and his compatriots-violinist John Blake, saxophonist/flutist Joe Ford, pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs and drummer Winard Harper-are free to explore and mine new treasures throughout these compositions.

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