One For All – Big George – Smoke Sessions Records

by | Mar 13, 2024 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

After seven years, a welcome return from One For All…

One For All (featuring George Coleman) – Big George – Smoke Sessions Records #SSR-2401 – CD – 59:16 – ****

(Jim Rotondi – trumpet; Eric Alexander – alto & tenor sax; Steve Davis – trombone; David Hazeltine – piano & Fender Rhodes; John Webber – bass; Joe Farnsworth – drums; with special guest, George Coleman – tenor sax on #4, 5, 6)

Many have referred to the hard bop jazz group, One for All, as the 21st century version of the iconic, Jazz Messengers. They embody the hard swinging jazz that Art Blakey’s group brought for several decades, starting in the 1950s. One for All began recording as a group in 1997, and last put out a CD, seven years ago. Their new release, with special guest, octogenarian, tenor saxophonist, George Coleman on three tracks, is a happy occasion.

Most all of the members have gone out on their own to tour and record. They formed after playing together in the 1990s, when their schedules permitted, at the jazz club, Smoke, in New York. Trumpeter, Jim Rotondi, has been teaching in Austria, and returned for this recording. The group had a chance to play at the club, before entering Sear Sound Studios, on September 27, 2022.

Their guest artist, tenor saxist, George Coleman, needs no introduction, as he has played with most all of the heavy hitters, including a stint with Miles Davis. At nearly 89 years old, Coleman, of course, does not have the “wind power” of his prime, but with head arrangements provided by the group, he certainly holds his own, and adds some heft, especially on the standard, “My Foolish Heart,” and on Hank Mobley’s soulful, “This I Dig of You.”

“Chainsaw,” is a feature from Eric Alexander, with solos shared on this funky number. “In the Lead,” from David Hazeltine, brings their special blend that the group’s horns provide. “The Nearness of You,” from Hoagy Carmichael, is a beautiful ballad, and Davis, Alexander, and Rotondi all solo. The closer, “Leemo,” (short for Lee Morgan), has the requisite Morgan swagger, here provided by Jim Rotondi.

Seven years was a long time to wait for a jazz visit from One For All. For those of us not in the Big Apple, we’d love more releases from this super group. Let’s hope their busy schedules provide the opportunity again soon.

–Jeff Krow

One For All – Big George

In the Lead
Oscar Winner
My Foolish Heart
This I Dig of You
Cove Island Breeze
The Nearness of You

More Information through Smoke Session Records

Album Cover for One For All


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