Richard Simon: Covering the Basses

Bassmen, as composers, highlight this release by West Coast bassist Richard Simon. He and his bandmates show smooth ensemble playing on Ray Brown’s “Ray’s Idea,” while Buddy Collette’s sumptuous alto and Art Hillery’s funky organ give Bob Haggart’s melancholic “What’s New” a slight twist. Hillery and drummer Johnny Kirkwood propel Sam Jones’ classic “Unit Seven,” and Gil Bernal’s tenor, with Al Viola’s guitar, more than do justice to Oscar Pettiford’s “Tricotism.” A brief, moving “Goodbye Porkpie Hat” ends the disk. Throughout, bassist Simon lays down his own tasty lines, shows his arco skill on John Clayton’s “Blues for Stephanie” and contributes a few tunes penned by his able bass hand.