I'm not sure if it's simply the natural tendency to root for the underdog, or the whole David versus Goliath mindset; but for some reason, when the small, independent record labels release recordings that are real gems, the satisfaction seems even greater. The Red Records label out of Italy has released such a gem called Why Not?? from Chuck Zeuren. Drummer Zeuren ably displays his talents as both musician and composer in this offering. The music has a straightforward, hard bop sound without being clichéd or predictable. The album contains some wonderful contrasts from start to finish; opening with the scorching, up-tempo title track followed by a lazy, Latin-based tune called Wuz Up??
The remaining seven compositions on this release are equally strong, allowing each player to shine. Zeuren has assembled a terrific group of musicians for this recording as well. Of particular note are trumpeter Shunzo Ono and tenor saxophonist Dave Finucane. The band also includes Roger Wilder on piano, Dick Sarpola on bass and Brazilian percussionist Café. Often, on a recording with a drummer as bandleader the compositions and the recording have a tendency to be a little percussive heavy, unfortunately at the expense of the other musicians. Not so here. The playing of Zeuren and Café is subtle and well placed, and the recording quality is bright without any of the other players getting pushed out.