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Soundin' Off (1960)

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Walter Bishop Jr.

Originally issued in 1960 and subsequently reissued multiple times in a variety of formats, the trumpeter Dizzy Reece's fourth Blue Note outing as a leader is here presented in Super Audio CD format by the APO label. While it would have been nice to see a bit more material on a reissue like this (with at least a couple of alternate takes), the original program is densely packed with high-quality music and makes for a solidly satisfying listening experience on its own. The opening track, interestingly enough, is both a ballad and a standard: on "Ghost of a Chance" Reece plays with a buttery, burnished tone that coats the familiar melody in a golden haze like the quality of light at dusk. The sun rises again on the next track, a midtempo number titled "Once in a While," and the tempo ratchets up another notch on "Eb Pob," a rather undistinguished composition on the "I Got Rhythm" changes that is completely redeemed by the quality of the solos. "Yesterday" finds pianist Walter Bishop delivering a curiously lackadaisical solo, but he gets back in the groove on a wonderful version of "Our Love Is Here to Stay." The program ends with a nice, bouncy blues original titled "Blue Streak." Throughout the album, Reece digs into his bag of sonic tricks without ever doing anything that detracts from the music itself. Soundin' Off is a little bit uneven, but is never less than a solid pleasure to listen to. ~ Rick Anderson