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Bryan Carter (Drums), Joshua Crumbly (Bass) and Samora Pinderhughes (Piano) perform Stablemates by Benny Golson. Filmed by Hanan Misko at The Juilliard School in New York City
Known as two of the pre-eminent modern mainstream tenor saxophonists of the '60s with or respectively, and each blazed their own trails in post-bop jazz with styles and techniques that influenced their much more renowned peer, . These sessions from 1977 showcase the horn players in their prime of life, invigorated to play their own music, and surrounded with like-minded experts of contemporary expressionism that lifts this music to the rafters. Legitimate stablemates in the eight-piece group, 's quartet with the reliable pianist , and the mighty octet of featuring split the program, and both consistently prove their distinctive mettle throughout. 's small ensemble offers the flowing modal waltz "Sweet Lotus Lips" with an outstanding solo from bassist , the light shuffle "Not Quite That" similar to 's "Jeanine" with in a restrained -ish mode, while the outstanding modal version of 's "Moment to Moment" has a bossa nova feel and palpable inferences. The band does "Yardbird Suite" with 's tenor, not alto as played on his original, sporting fluid dynamics, executed in a loose fashion, and with a delightfully playful facade. 's exceptional octet, with fellow Memphis musicians, alto saxophonist and pianist , baritone saxophonist , and trumpeter form one of the great front lines of all time. But sheer talent is not so much the key as is their teamwork and innate ability to play these tough, intriguing, and uplifting charts. A crazy fast unison approach contrasting mad changes by and hardly suggests the melody of "Green Dolphin Street," a unique touch that sets the tone for the octet. Drummer fires up "Big George" with a hard bop fervor rivaled only by -- not surprising considering this track sounds like it is based on a merge of 's "Giant Steps" and the classic "Tune Up." naturally underpins the Latin feel of a starkly dramatic "Joggin'," while the bright big-band feel of "Frank's Tune" suggests the progressive bent of the . 's octet saves the best for last, as "Revival" is an epic modal anthem, with 's burnished trumpet up front working in counterpoint with the other horns over a dense, delicious, and dramatic baseline reverting to a tuneful repeat phrase over constantly changing dynamics and shifting rhythms. It's one for the ages. Special kudos goes to , the glue of the band from a supportive rhythmic and melodic standpoint, and again to for his intelligent design in navigating rhythm in a manner far from stock, standard timekeeping. This is an important album in many ways, not only for the status of and , but for the highly original classic music that clearly is identified with the '50s, brought into contemporary times, and everlasting.