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Harvey Mason: Chameleon

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Harvey Mason revisits seven fusion classics of the 1970s on Chameleon, his Concord Records debut album. The veteran drummer, currently a member of the superband Fourplay, has performed with a vast range of artists, and he played on nearly all of the originals he’s remaking here. Mason is joined by a stellar group of musicians-including young talent Christian Scott, Ben Williams and Kris Bowers-and together they celebrate the originals while finding contemporary ways to present them to a new audience.

The album kicks off with Grover Washington Jr.’s “Black Frost,” which retains the slow-grooving moodiness of the original. Saxophonist Kamasi Washington has the daunting task of recreating Washington’s tenor saxophone lead, and he puts his own stamp on it, turning in a muscular performance with the edges left unpolished. Mason’s take on Patrice Rushen’s elegant “Before the Dawn” stays close to the original, spotlighting those familiar horn harmonies.

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