For those of you who long for the sound of the McCoy Tyner albums on Milestone of the early-to-mid-70s, go no further: for that longing, The Antidote. But NYC-based pianist Cary is no mere Tyner imitator--his sound is more florid and less percussive, though no less forceful. His music seems to have captured the haunting, minor-key, exotica-flavored feel of the Tyner recordings of that period. Bill Evans seems to be an influence as well--note the beautiful, straight-ahead ballad "When I Think of You," an enchanting duet with the big, breathy tenor of Ron Blake. Duke Ellington's "Melancholia" gets a wistful, yet full-bodied, solo treatment. The subtly-"Caravan"-flavored "Chappaquitic Woman" has powerful oomph courtesy of churning, percolating Latin percussion and Blake's surging, 'Trane-inspired tenor.
One of the finer points of Cary's band & album is that no one over-plays--in a program little over an hour, with 10 tunes, there's an admirable--and damn refreshing--sense of restraint and economy, without sacrificing flair and fire, not to mention variety. Marc Cary is clearly, to use a Brando-ism, a contender.