Half Notes: Rufus Reid and Out Front – Hues Of A Different Blue (2011)

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Photo provided by Rufus Reid

When I listened to the all-time-great bassist Rufus Reid’s brand new CD Hues Of A Different Blue for the first couple of times, it kind of threw me for a loop. Last year’s release Out Front, an SER “Best of 2010: Mainstream and Modern Jazz” selection, was the perfect bass-led trio jazz record . His latest one, out last April 12, starts off that way, too, with pianist Steve Alee and drummer Dudeka Da Fonseca reprising their roles from that album. But then the guests start to appear on the third track, “When She Smiles Upon Your Face,” and it’s no longer another perfect little jazz trio record; it becomes a rather dandy extended combo record. Joining Reid’s trio (now dubbed “Out Front”) for some selected tracks, are trumpeter Freddie Hendrix, tenor saxophonist JD Allen, alto saxophonist Bobby Watson and Brazilian acoustic guitarist/vocalist Toninho Horta. The full complement of these players performing on “When She Smiles” gives it a bit of a classic Charlie Byrd vibe, but the Horta/Reid duet “Francisca” reveals another side in Reid’s highly sophisticated artistry, blending in so completely with Horta’s acoustic guitar that the two sound as one. Allen sparkles on “Lower Burellian Bicycle Loop,” as does Hendrix’s flugelhorn on “The Eloquent One.” Reid’s title track ends the record, a song that is as structurally complex as a federal budget but never loses its swing. Once again, Reid proves to be more than a damned good bass player, and Hues Of A Different Blue checked off yet more items in the list of things Reid proves he’s very good at doing musically.

Half Notes is a quick-take music feature on Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us. Hues Of A Different Blue comes to us courtesy of Motema Records.

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S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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