Mark Whitfield: Live & Uncut

Guitarist Mark Whitfield was a major up and comer back in the 90s, highly influenced by George Benson and serving as a sideman for B3er Jimmy Smith. He went through a period where his releases were few and far between, but last year’s Grace and this recent “live” album show he’s lost no chops or style.

He’s teamed with Ben Allison/b and Billy Drummond/dr during a gig at New York’s Rockwood Hall, and the band is swinging throughout the night. His tone is pencil thin like Don Ameche’s mustache, swing and melodic on material such as “Without A Song” and bopping with delight on “Jackie-ing.” His lyricism is gorgeous, with lots of nice ideas on “Willow Weep For Me” and the team shows it can bear down and dig deep on “Dubai” and “Changes for Monk and Trane.” Glad to see this guy is back in town.

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