Cal Bennett: Moments Later

Multi-saxophonist Cal Bennett stretches out into some interesting new territory on Moments Later-(Groove Time Jazz GTJ 2010; 61:00). An expressive player on tenor and alto, Bennett enlists the support of talents like Bobby Lyle and guitarist Toshi Yamagi to mix up timings and textures, and come up with some highly original, accessible soul. “The Big Earthbeat” is the adventurous centerpiece here, with Lyle’s organ work and Yamagi’s wah-wah guitar providing cool counterpoint to Bennett’s muscular alto melody.

“Mello Head” is another memorable percussive piece, highlighted by Michael Henderson’s mute trumpet, which provides a dark foil for Bennett. This territory proves much richer than a string of ballads boasting somewhat puffy introductions and atmosphere. Although some boast catchy grooves and worthy solos, they simply take too long to get going. An exception is “From Within,” a gently uplifting anthem featuring Lyle on a light retro Fender Rhodes, and vocalist Fin singing in a sweet tenor. “Where does it all come from? From within.”