Top critical review
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Nice, tasteful, well-executed, & rather pointless
on October 19, 2003
Hm. This one looks promising--Ron Carter on bass, Russell Malone on guitar, Mulgrew Miller on piano, about as good a mainstream jazz lineup as you could hope for--& somehow comes off as well-executed musical wallpaper. Here's a test-case for the prospective purchaser: are you a big fan of the MJQ? It's not just that there's a cover of John Lewis's "The Golden Striker" here; it's that the same dynamic level, tasteful counterpoint & classical borrowings are present (though, frankly, there's nothing as striking as Milt Jackson's vibes here). There's a few originals from the players here (Carter's "A Quick Sketch" is the best, a lovely piece riding a very simple pedal point), & covers of Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez" (snore) & "Autumn Leaves" (a version which is so polite it's hard to believe it's the same guy who played on some of Miles' most tempestuous ever readings of the tune). These guys can play pretty, but--you know, I can think of a lot of albums that manage to be both pretty _and_ have some meat to them (try Bill Mays' _Going Home_ on Palmetto for instance; or for that matter the MJQ at their best). This one doesn't come close to managing that trick. 3 stars for execution, but this is disappointing stuff if you're looking for something that aspires to more than pleasantries.