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Bobby Shew, Gary Foster and Friends Play the Music of Reed Kotler by Bobby Shew Gary Foster and Friends

With the release of the CD Bobby Shew, Gary Foster and Friends Play the Music of Reed Kotler, trumpeter extraordinaire Bobby Shew and multi-woodwind master instrumentalist Gary Foster have produced over two hours of the most affable, easy going sounds of recent acquaintance to this listener. There are "serious" pieces inspired as tributes to musicians known to the composer, however the majority of the CD progresses without a millstone of artistic angst, and the music on this recording flows freely in a seemingly effortless manner like a fresh light wind on a summer’s day. This is not to suggest that this recording consists of light, breezy, ineffectual music, but rather is a testament to the exceedingly high level of technical mastery and musical artistry possessed by Shew, Foster and their accompanying rhythm section. Musicians of such a high caliber perform music in a way that sounds like it is being made with little effort at all. There are a good variety of sounds with Shew trading off between trumpet, muted trumpet and flugelhorn, while Foster utilizes flute, alto flute, alto and tenor saxophones as part of his instrumental palette. At the heart of the good feeling this CD conveys is a tight, swinging rhythm section that keeps the music moving along in a great groove.

The twenty-one tunes that comprise the two CDs in this collection are all originals by Reed Kotler, arranged by Bobby Shew. Kotler’s music is inventive and demonstrates evidence of a variety of influences of different jazz styles and different jazz musicians. Kotler’s music seemingly provides the listener with musical snapshots of different musical experiences and musicians he has encountered during his own musical life. In addition to beautiful ballads most of the pieces are bop influenced straight ahead swingers or Latin laced numbers, with the variety ranging from a rollicking gospelish "Blues for Kenny B." to the beautiful melody of "I Couldn’t Have Loved You More," to pieces inspired by Bill Evans, Bob Cooper, Clifford Brown, and Bobby Shew. In addition to exceptional solo work by Shew and Foster, not to be overlooked is the very fine playing and soloing of pianist Bill Cunliffe, bassist Darek "Oles" Oleszkiewicz, and Paul Kreibich on drums.

Bobby Shew is a consummate trumpet artist. With his experience of playing lead trumpet in big bands, significant studio work, and his expertise in the art of improvisation, he is truly one who has done much to maintain high standards of musicianship in the jazz world. Gary Foster is also a top flight professional with great chops that afford him familiarity in a many different musical settings. The talents of these two horn men and the men in the rhythm section coupled with the creative writing of Reed Kotler, make this CD an excellent and aesthetically uplifting listening experience. Bobby Shew, Gary Foster and Friends Play the Music of Reed Kotler is very highly recommended to any listener who enjoys first rate performances of straight ahead swinging jazz.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Bobby Shew Gary Foster and Friends
  • CD Title: Bobby Shew, Gary Foster and Friends Play the Music of Reed Kotler
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2001
  • Record Label: Torii Records
  • Tracks: Disc 1: Night to Remember, Calypso Bop, Jenny, Just Having Some Fun, One for Bobby, You are the One, A Distant Song, Take Me With You, One for Smith, Blues for T.H., Beautiful Evening. Disc 2: Blues for Kenny B., Coop, Nice Groove, Darling I Love You, Tears for Evans, Happy Day, Too Soon, I Never Knew Clifford, Tuesday Blues, I Couldnt Have Loved You More'
  • Musicians: Bobby Shew (trumpet, flugelhorn), Gary Foster, (flute, alto flute, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone), Bill Cunliffe (piano), Darek "Oles" Oleszkiewicz (bass), Paul Kreibich (drums, wind chimes)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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