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Lines and Grooves by Joshua Bayer

Bassist Joshua Bayer leads an excellent quartet through nine tracks on Lines And Grooves, eight of them his original compostions. It's a straight-ahead affair, with some bop overtones, and while there's little about Bayer's writing that's strikingly original, his mastery of the tradition is impressive. Among the tracks there he pays musical homage to the likes of Cedar Walton, Bill Evans, Miles Davis and Count Basie, and any of those named would, I'm sure, be proud to find themselves associated with music of this quality.

The quartet is not just a studio-assembled one-off, this is a real working band, and it shows in their performance. Solos are passed smoothly between the players, who are clearly attuned to one another. Marty Nau's saxophone work is particularly noteworthy throughout, but every member of the group gets a chance to shine. Keyboardist Bob Sykes, for instance, provides a textbook example of how the Fender Rhodes should be played on "Tre" and Luther Gray lives up to the demands placed on a drummer in a group led by a bassist. It's just a bit harder to be part of a rhythm section when half of it is likely to be soloing a good portion of the time, but Gray fulfills his role with aplomb.

Albums like this don't exactly turn the jazz world upside down, but they do make it a better place to live in. Bayer's put together a disc that deserves your attention and repeated play.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Joshua Bayer
  • CD Title: Lines and Grooves
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Jazzheads Records
  • Musicians: Joshua Bayer, acoustic bass, leader, composer. Luther Gray, drums. Marty Nau, saxophone. Bob Sykes, piano and Rhodes.
  • Rating: Four Stars
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