"All This And Heaven Too"
marks the debut of New York vibist Chuck Redd
as a leader for the Arbors Records label. This CD features Redd in an intimate trio setting with bassist George Mraz and guitarist Gene Bertoncini, as well as guest work by Ken Peplowski on clarinet and tenor sax. All four musicians are long-time acquaintances and this is apparent in the ease with which they function together.
Redd has been well-known in the New York jazz scene through his work as a drummer and vibist with such luminaries as Mel Torme, Red Norvo, and The Great Guitars (Charlie Byrd, Herb Ellis, and Barney Kessel). Redd was a latecomer to the vibes, not taking them up full-time until his late twenties. But after studying with Norvo and working steadily through the 1980's, he emerged as one of the great talents on the instrument and modeled much of his playing after the great Milt Jackson.
The music on this CD is relaxed and swinging, reminiscent of the George Shearing Quintet of the 1950's. The playlist is composed entirely of jazz standards, mostly popular songs with a handful of jazz tunes added. The group varies the feel of the tunes, presenting "Indian Summer" as an easy bossa nova and moving deftly through Charlie Parker's "Barbados". Both of these tunes feature Peplowski's tasty clarinet work, which is an unusual and enjoyable departure from the standard be-bop treatment usually given to Parker's music.
Though the group works without a drummer, the rhythm of the band is carried with great finesse by Mraz and Bertoncini, who both solo as well as they accompany, adding wonderful harmony and countermelodies to each other's playing. This is a thoroughly enjoyable CD, and I will add to Marian McPartland's hearty liner note endorsement of the album by encouraging all jazz fans to pick up a copy today and make it a part of your regular listening.