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Sharpe, Avery: Running Man

Avery Sharpe is quite simply one of the best bass players I have ever heard. He started playing the piano at the age of eight, switched to the accordion and finally migrated to bass. He has made numerous recordings as a band leader and has appeared on countless others and has played with the likes of Pat Metheny and Dizzy Gillespie. His new album Running Man is released on his own JKNM Records.

On this recording Avery plays electric and acoustic bass and shows tremendous flair on both instruments. His stunning runs and effortless rhythms punctuate every song. Even though this is a virtual highlight reel one never gets the feeling Sharpe is showing off just for the sake of it as every note fits in just the right place. Whether he treats the instrument like a guitar or a cello his playing is simply magical. However, despite all of the virtuosity displayed Sharpe's sense of ensemble playing is not lost. He also allows the other musicians to shine, most notably Onaje Allan Gumbs on piano, Yoran Israel on drums and Craig Handy on soprano and tenor saxophones.

This album is a great combination of instrumental virtuosity and melody making for some stand out moments. A case in point is the outstanding "Jump!" showcasing solo sax, drums and bass. The piano melody has a timeless feel as it varies between soft and more intense flavourings. The romantic saxophone in the balladic "Her All" is one of the most melodic offerings whereas the stop start sax breaks and complex drumming in "Rwandan Escape" are also highlights. The bass solo in the latter is phenomenal.

Avery really shows off his penchant for great melodies in the latter half of the album as "Ancestry Delight", Lexi's Song and "Silent War" all feature stunning sax work. The bass in "Silent War" has Sharpe treating it like a cello with some awesome bow work. The album ends with the more up-tempo "Cheri's Smile (Reprise)" showcasing busy piano and drums that really pack a punch.

If you enjoy jazz and outstanding musicianship including some riveting bass playing you could not ask for a better combination than Sharpe's Running Man. Jazz lovers rejoice.


Track Listing:
1. Running Man (For Jesse Owens) (5:25)
2. Jump! (7:08)
3. Breathe Again (4:52)
4. Cheri's Smile (7:00)
5. Celestial Stride (6:40)
6. Her All (5:25)
7. Rwandan Escape (5:06)
8. Ancestry Delight (5:22)
9. Lexi's Song (4:54)
10. Silent War (5:40)
11. Cheri's Smile (Reprise) (1:40)

Added: April 26th 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1475
Language: english

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