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Rufus Reid & Out Front: Hues of a Different Blue

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Out Front, bassist Rufus Reid’s trio with pianist Steve Allee and drummer Duduka Da Fonseca, is the backbone of this session, with various guests appearing on half the tracks. Among those guests are Brazilian guitarist and vocalist Toninho Horta, alto saxophonist Bobby Watson, tenor saxophonist JD Allen and trumpeter Freddie Hendrix. The full ensemble plays only on “When She Smiles Upon Your Face,” a lively, melodic samba by Reid. The complex title track, also by the leader, includes the horns and the rhythm section minus Horta. The trio shines on the opening “It’s the Nights I Like,” an in-the-pocket blues, and “Come Rain or Come Shine,” with Reid stating the melody as a prelude to some righteous swinging.

The guitarist and bassist charm on Horta’s “Francisca,” a duo performance in which Horta also sings. Reid’s “The Eloquent One,” a ballad for the late pianist Hank Jones, is another sonic beauty, with the trio plus Hendrix on flugelhorn. The sax men also get a feature each, Watson on “These Foolish Things” in a duet with Reid and Allen on Don Aliquo’s “Lower Burellian Bicycle Loop” with Out Front. Allen has been getting good press lately, and based on this rhythmically diverse performance, deservedly so.

The Out Front trio is both a hard-swinging ensemble and a sensitive mood setter. Hues of a Different Blue is a beautifully recorded document of this versatile group and leader covering several bases admirably.

Originally Published