Mike Tucker's Collage is diverse set of jazz, ranging from Blue Note style hard-bop to keyboard driven fusion recalling Joe Zawinul and Chick Corea's 1970's ensembles; there is even a nice derivative of Latin jazz in the from of "Double Mambo." The young saxophonist leads a traditional quartet on the date, augmented on one track by an unnamed trumpeter. Tucker's sound is robust and full, and he is ably accompanied by the frenetic Hogyu Hwang on bass, drummer Lee Fish and Leo Genovese on piano and, intriguingly, Fender Rhodes and synthesizer.
The album opens with "Fanfare," a driving bop number that showcases the trumpet before giving Tucker a chance to blow, and the saxophonist hurls another fastball in the form of "The Hey Man Tenor Club." In between, he sneaks in a change-up with the ballad "Kathy,' featuring a nice piano solo from Genovese. "70's" starts as another quiet number, its title perhaps derived from the mood created by the Rhodes keyboard and the jagged synthesizer solo that cuts through the tune. The group continues in a somewhat cosmic vein on "New Orleans"--imagine Deodato playing zydeco--and especially on the keyboard heavy "Space Suite."
Mike Tucker's Collage is an interesting and lively date steeped in the music of the '70s. Tucker is a fine tenor player, with a nice tone and nimble touch. Leo Genovese is a unique and versatile player as well, and Hwang and Fish do a good job of keeping the music constantly moving.