Melody and Hargrove’s flugelhorn and trumpet reign on this consistently rewarding recital of ballads. Hargrove’s respect for the tunes dominates the album. His variations maintain the mood and intent of the originals, brilliantly so on “How Insensitive” and “I Fall in Love Too Easily.” Pianist Larry Willis provided five of the arrangements for strings, with three coming from Gil Goldstein and two superb ones from Cedar Walton: “I’m a Fool to Want You” and “The Very Thought of You.” Hargrove arranged “Natural Wonders,” which holds its own in the company of classics like “I’m Glad There Is You,” “You Go to My Head” and “A Time for Love.” Bassist Gerald Cannon’s “Peri” and drummer Willie Jones III’s “Another Time” are substantial contributions to the repertoire of the album. Alto saxophonist Sherman Irby’s pensive playing on “Peri” and Willis’ on “Another Time” complement Hargrove’s work, which is his most heartfelt on record.
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