The Gary McFarland Legacy Ensemble: Circulation-The Music of Gary McFarland

One of the overlooked renaissance men in jazz, Gary McFarland died back in 1971 after an all too short career mixing jazz and orchestra works for Impulse and Verve back in the day. Drummer Michael Benedict delves into McFarland’s book and together with Joe L ocke/vib, Sharel Cassity/sax, Bruce Barth/p and Mike Lawrence/b delivers some small group takes of a surprisingly strong set of tunes that deserved to be re-evaluated.

The band shows rapid fire interplay on pieces such as “Notions” and “Circulation”which spotlight the work of Lawrence and Benedict, whereas Barth’s late night scene at the piano is heartfelt on “Why Are You Blue” and “Blue Hodge.” The team shows it’s Coltrane-ish modal chops on the charging “Sandpiper” which features some fervent soprano work by Cassity, and a more gentle state of affairs has Cassity cooing on the tenor during “One I Could Have Loved.” Through it all, Locke adds fragrant chimes as on “Bridgehampton Strut” and “Summer Day.” Impressive outing on a composer who deserves more recognition.

Planet Arts Records



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