The Undiscovered Few
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Rodney Jones is a veteran guitarist who plays in the house band for Rosie O'Donnell's television show and has served as musical director for Ruth Brown and Lena Horne. But on his Blue Note debut (and fourth CD as a leader), his estimable writing and arranging skills aren't as reliable as his prior outings. Some tunes fudge the fine line between stark beauty and banality ("Dreamers in Love" and the cello-guitar duet "Through the Eyes of a Child"), some are ambitiously multitextured but lack cohesion and momentum (the Ornettish "The Message" and the Mingusian "Circus Wheel"), and too many simply fade out in lieu of any ensemble resolution. But Jones's warm tone and liquid phrases pleasantly recall George Benson on "Tradewinds," and the sprightly horn riffage on "Oliver & Thad" (as in Nelson and Jones, respectively) is an appropriate homage to those big-band arrangers. "Lesson Time" is a fleet but still funky toe-tapper, and the standard "My Favorite Things" is given an innovative arrangement that retains its sense of joyful blossoming. The youthful pianist Shedrick Mitchell is especially noteworthy among Jones's core ensemble, and trumpeter Tim Hagans blows with riveting ferocity on his cameo. --Britt Robson
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Damien Durham a guitar player for over thirty years :)