Avery Sharpe Trio – Autumn Moonlight – JKNM Records

by | May 6, 2009 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Avery Sharpe Trio – Autumn Moonlight – JKNM Records 89897, 59:08 ****:

(Avery Sharpe, bass; Onaje Allan Gumbs, piano; Winard Harper, drums)

Avery Sharpe is a top-notch bass player, primarily known for being McCoy Tyner’s bassist for many years. However, Sharpe is also a fine post-bop composer. On his latest JKNM release, Autumn Moonlight, Avery composed six of the ten tracks, with band mate, pianist Gumbs contributing two tracks, Woody Shaw’s Organ Grinder and a jazz version of James Taylor’s Fire and Rain rounding out the set.

Boston Baked Blues is just that, a funky blues, and Gumbs is soulful, and as usual Winard Harper is the master of understated stick work, while Sharpe’s groove gets your head bobbing. As Avery states, “All Right, Boston Baked Blues…” mentioning Beantown celebrities. Next Fire and Rain gets a total makeover, with the melody line provided by the piano getting mixed with Harper’s percussion. Nicely done.

The title track mixes vocalese with an intense bass line. Palace of the Seven Jewels, composed by Allen Gumbs is a lovely ballad with the pianist taking center stage and Sharpe adding much with his authoritative fingering.

Other highlights include Woody Shaw’s Organ Grinder, where Gumbs’ piano runs are sparkling, and Sharpe’s Visible Man, where the entire trio blends effortlessly. On Autumn Moonlight, we get a further chance to appreciate the talents of Winard Harper, easily one of the less appreciated jazz drummers around. Harper is a percussive master using his drum sticks over all edges of the entire drum set. His simpatico with Sharpe’s bass playing is superb. With Gumbs up front, Sharpe and Harper provide the complete mix for a tasty trio.

Boston Baked Blues, Fire and Rain, Autumn Moonlight, Take Your Time but Hurry Up!, Palace of the Seven Jewels, Organ Grinder, Intrepid Warrior, Lost in a Dream, Visible Dream, First Time We Met

– Jeff Krow

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