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Hornsby, Bruce, Christian McBride, Jack DeJohnette: Camp Meeting

Bruce Hornsby hasn't been content to let his career as a pop artist be the opening and closing chapter of his legacy. Last year, the artist released a boxed set that didn't go light on the hits but did go light on the expected versions of many of his classic tunes, either an iconoclastic jab at those who wish to cast him as the writer of "Harbor Lights" and "Mandolin Rain" or a completely cock-eyed ego stroke. But then Hornsby's never really done the expected. He's played with The Grateful Dead, cashing out his pop star chips, monkeyed around with Ricky Skaggs, a risky proposition in recent years, and now bursts forth with a collection of standards and originals recorded with heavyweights McBride and DeJohnette.

The results, honesty, are mixed. There's a fairly distinct lack of true fire and spontaneity here––Ornette Coleman's "Questions And Answers" could be any Sunday morning cocktail outfit kicking out its ya-yas and the Hornsby original "Stacked Mary Possum" proves about as interesting/revelatory as a 59-cent hamburger at McDonald's. The rest of the album follows the same pattern––"Giant Steps" is rendered with torpor, Miles Davis' "Solar" is re-imagined in such a way that it sounds like a Hornsby original (let the debate ensue about the merits of that) and "Straight, No Chaser" has rarely sounded as pedestrian as it does in the hands of three giants. Still, Keith Jarrett's "Death And The Flower" shines brightly and a take on Bud Powell's "Celia" is a fairly bright moment. In all, it's a mixed bag that carries too much of Hornsby's stamp of brilliant blandness and not enough risk to let the real stars––DeJohnette and McBride––let loose upon the world.

Track Listing
1. Questions And Answers
2. Charlie, Woody And You
3. Solar
4. Death And The Flower
5. Camp Meeting
6. Giant Steps
7. Celia
8. We'll Be Together Again
9. Stacked Mary Possum
10. Straight, No Chaser
11. Un Poco Loco/Chant Song

Added: August 8th 2007
Reviewer: Jedd Beaudoin
Related Link: Legacy Recordings
Hits: 2328
Language: english

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