Jazz CD Reviews

Bob Mover – My Heart Tells Me – Motema Music (2 CDs)

Bob Mover into the spotlight…..

Published on June 12, 2013

Bob Mover – My Heart Tells Me – Motema Music MTM-117 (2 CDs) – 53:47, 47:14 (Disc 2: Enhanced CD with video) ****:

(Bob Mover: alto, tenor, and soprano sax, vocals; Kenny Barron, piano; Bob Cranshaw, bass; Steve Williams, drums. With Special guests on Disc 2: Josh Evans, trumpet (all tracks); Steve Hall, tenor sax (#2,4,6); and Victor Lewis, drums (#3,5))

Bob Mover has been a well-kept secret among the jazz inner circle for way too long. He is an accomplished 61 year old saxophonist, who has released nine records, and performed with such heavy hitters as Chet Baker, Charles Mingus, Jaki Byard, and Lee Konitz. On his latest two CD set on Motema, he also shows he has a warm set of pipes, as he both sings and plays a range of saxophones on a set of strictly solid standards.  His vocal range is not wide, yet he brings a mellow soulfulness to such classics as “So Near and Yet So Far,” “Gone With the Wind,” “You’ve Changed,” and the title track, “My Heart Tells Me.”

Backed by a dream rhythm section of Kenny Barron, Bob Cranshaw, and Steve Williams, Mover equates himself well with vocals that bring to mind Milt Hinton. However, it’s his sax playing that demands attention. He can turn on a dime from a warm mainstream timbre to stretching out into brief “open playing.” Barron and Cranshaw are nicely upfront in the mix with Kenny playing (as always) the right comped sparkling phrases, and Bob’s bass, both woody and muscular. The mood ranges from the mellowness of Cole Porter’s “So Near and Yet So Far” to a more assertive throw-down version of another Porter tune, “Get Out of Town.”

Mover shows his mastery on the primary saxophones, with it being a toss-up trying to pick a favorite, with old school mastery meeting post bop freedom. You can see why he fit in with both Baker, Mingus, Konitz, and Byard.

A man for all jazz seasons…

Disc 2 goes in the direction of a bigger horn section band with the addition of Josh Evans on trumpet on all tracks, and Steve Hall providing a tenor mate on three tracks. Disc 2 is nearly all instrumental, and is a mix of five Mover compositions along with Kenny Dorham’s “Fair Weather,” and Mal Waldron’s “Dee’s Dilemma.”

Mover’s bop credentials are on display on the second disc. The addition of Josh Evans on trumpet helps flesh out the mood in a robust direction, like a strong cup of coffee upping the energy and clearly inspiring Mover. “Survival of the Sickest” is a clear indication that free bop and the blues mate well, while “Mugawump” blends Latin with the Caribbean and start/ stop time.

Mover includes a Kenny Dorham composition, “Fair Weather” to honor KD, with whom Mover spent the summer of 1969, along with Wynton Kelly. Dorham had a strong influence on Bob, and Mover states that “Dorham did not live enough for me to really thank him. Putting this song in the world now is my way of trying to do that…”

There is something for everyone on this two CD set. Winning compositions, warm vocals, and brilliant playing from an all-star cast. It’s well past time for Bob Mover to move into the big name spotlight.


Disc One:  My Heart Tells Me, So Near and Yet So Far, I Hadn’t Anyone Till You, Get Out of Town, Penthouse Serenade (When We’re Alone, Gone with the Wind, You’ve Changed, By Myself, You Must Believe in Spring

Disc Two:  Dee’s Dilemma, Survival of the Sickest, Muggawump, Fair Weather, Chet’s Chum, Sweet Basil, Carmen’s Calypso

—Jeff Krow


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