MASTERS AT PLAY…Heads of State: Search For Peace

These guys make it sound so easy. Lemme tell you-It AIN’T! Gary Bartz/as, Larry Willis/p, Buster Williams/b and Al Foster/dr probably have close to 200 collective years between them  playing advanced and modal bop, and this collection shows what happens when real artists are given the paint brushes.

Bartz’s alto has the feel of a twenty year old catcher’s mitt, flexible, warm and fitting just right on material like the fervent read of “Impressions” and the soft and fluffy “Crazy She Calls Me.” Willis glows on McCoy Tyner’s “Search For Peace”  and together with Foster have a Monikshly fun time on “Uncle Bubba.” But, the standout here is Buster Williams. He simply sets the pace, the tone and the style as he creates wondrous shadows on “Lotus Blossom,” does intricate interplay with Foster on “ I Wish I Knew” and creates elastic melodicism on on the glowing “Summer Serenade.” You know he’s there every moment as he always feels like he’s directing traffic, waving off someone and letting someone else pass. Obviously, this is a team effort, but Williams shines as the third base coach. And take note-no self indulgent solos ANYWHERE. Are you Berklee grads paying attention?

Smoke Sessions Records

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