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Ralph Peterson’s Unity Project: Outer Reaches

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Outer Reaches is drummer Ralph Peterson’s tribute to organist Larry Young and trumpeter Woody Shaw. Not surprisingly, its 12 tracks include two-thirds of their 1965 New Thing classic, Unity. The quartet (Peterson, trumpeter Josh Evans, saxophonist Jovan Alexandre and organist Pat Bianchi) also performs tunes by John McLaughlin and Peterson himself, in a solid but unexceptional journey from soul-jazz to fusion.

Bianchi steeps himself in the soul that Young took bold leaps out of. Hence “The Moontrane” and “Beyond All Limits” have gospel and blues injected back into them. But these elements were always indispensable to Young’s soul-jazz “Ritha,” which Peterson and Bianchi attack as in a loose, funky jam session. Bianchi is at his greasiest, however, on Peterson’s original “An Inside Job,” a hard-bop quartet piece that keeps the drummer busy following him.

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