Half Notes: Avery Sharpe Trio – Live (2010)

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by Mark Saleski

First off, I just have to say that this album, recorded at WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio in Boston, sounds gorgeous. Many modern recordings, even in the quieter jazz realm, are tainted by the overuse of compression. Not so here. The inner detail of Winard Harper’s cymbal work is right there and Onaje Allan Gumbs piano is very lively, making great use of dynamics without overwhelming the other players. When Sharpe’s bass has to take the spotlight, the tone is very natural, filling out the bottom end while not losing those important upper register details.

Highlights include a great take on Yusef Lateef’s “Morning,” a killer solo bass piece (yes, that’s what I said, a bass solo) called “I Understand,” and an interesting version of “My Favorite Things.” The word I want to use is “elongated.” Phrases you know and love are tugged at just slightly, the result managing to swing like crazy while being a little unsettling at the same time.

Half Notes is a quick-take music feature on Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

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