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Tim Warfield Quintet: Gentle Warrior

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Only a thoroughly assured tenor player would lead off a set with a hokey ballad like “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” as Tim Warfield does on Gentle Warrior. It is something that only a handful of greats like Rollins and Gordon can do without risk. Warfield’s nailing such a daring gambit on just his third outing as a leader shows how he has grown since first gaining notice on Tough Young Tenors, the ’91 Antilles young lions showcase.

Still, this is just one of several well-etched facets of Warfield’s sensibility explored on this date with pianist Cyrus Chestnut, bassist Tarus Mateen, and drummer Clarence Penn; either Nicholas Payton and Terrell Stafford perform on five of the program’s eight tracks, offering a fine contrast in trumpet styles. What is refreshing about the album is that when it’s over there is no simple label that can easily stick to Warfield.

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