John Beasley – Positootly! Resonance Records – RCC-1013, 1.2 hours ***** [Release date: Sept. 8, 09]:
,br />(John Beasley, piano & leader; Bennie Maupin, sax; Brian Lynch, trumpeter; Munyungo Jackson, percussion; James Genus, doublebass; Jiff “Tain” Watts, drums)
Pianist/composer/arranger Beasley has paid his dues with Miles, Freddie Hubbard, Hubert Laws, Christian McBride, and has been musical director for the like of Queen Latifah and Steely Dan. This new CD is a follow-up to his Resonance Records debut last year – Letter to Herbie – inspired by the music of Herbie Hancock.
This one leans even more on Beasley’s role as composer, with mostly originals aside from three selections. His arrangement of the Brazilian gem Dindi is simply lovely, and Caddo Bayou takes us to Cajun country. The arrangements supporting Beasley’s piano are superb and not the least bit clichéd, and both Grammy-winning trumpeter Brian Lynch and saxist Bennie Maupin (who plays with Hancock’s bands) turn in some fine solos. The LA Times identified qualities of Art Tatum, Monk and Herbie Hancock in Beasley’s music.
TrackList: Caddo Bayou, Positootly!, Dindi, Black Thunder, Shatita Boom Boom, TanGuedia III, Elle, So Tired, The Eight Winds Hope…Arkansas