eMusic Review 0
The original edition of Album of the Year contained a half-dozen tunes recorded in Paris in 1981 and featured teenage trumpeter Wynton Marsalis in Blakey's vibrant, eye-opening ensemble. The Album offered here adds two tracks from 1982, when Marsalis and altoist Bobby Watson had been replaced by another perspicacious duo, future co-bandleaders Terence Blanchard and Donald Harrison. Surprisingly, the later pair more than hold their own in comparison to their more celebrated predecessors — check the pause-and-thrust two-note refrain Blanchard deploys to close out his scintillating solo on his composition "Oh By the Way" — but it's a win-win situation for the listener regardless. Even at 19, Marsalis 'solos were cocky yet geometrically precise, the notes neatly rounded or expertly cleaved and stacked during his effusions on "Ms. B.C." and "In Case You Missed It" in particular.
Bassist Charles Fambrough was an ideal foil for Blakey (and present in both ensembles), his large tone turned up in the mix combining with the leader's trademark snare-and-cymbal to transform the rhythm section into an extraordinarily potent hard-bop engine. These songs don't pussyfoot; they crackle like a conflagration that is moving from kindling to heavy wood. The ebullience Watson would later… read more »