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Clarinet Blue by Bobby Gordon and Dave McKenna

It's always nice to receive a new CD by players who are still active after decades of playing and especially when the musicians don't dilute their dedication to traditional jazz with gimmicks. These two stars play with the enthusiasm of many of the "young lions" and have aged like a fine red wine.

I first heard Bobby Gordon a long time ago when he recorded "Bobby's Blues" for Decca and often wish I still had that old vinyl issue. The clarinetist is heard here in a small group setting to great advantage and maintains his perennial mellow tone. Bobby never rushes a performance and squeezes out note after note of delicious melody.

The great Dave McKenna needs little introduction to fans of traditional or contemporary jazz. No matter the situation, McKenna is equal to the task and adapts to whatever pianistic style is in demand at the time. The Gordon/McKenna duo is mated with the confident and laid back rhythm section of Frank Tate and Joe Ascione. The quartet creates beautiful music together and present the listener with 17 selections from the "cream of the crop" composers. They even include two tunes by my favorite writer, Walter Donaldson, in the form of "It's Been So Long" and "You're Driving Me Crazy".

Bobby Gordon includes his own very pretty composition "Clarinet Blue" and the group swings nicely on "Rosetta", "Louisiana", "You Turned The Tables On Me" and a great slow version of "Ja-Da".

All in all, this recording reflects the high standards of the musicians and Arbors Records. Highly recommended!

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Bobby Gordon and Dave McKenna
  • CD Title: Clarinet Blue
  • Genre: Traditional / New Orleans
  • Year Released: 2000
  • Record Label: Arbors Records
  • Musicians: Bobby Gordon (clarinet), Dave McKenna (piano), Frank Tate (bass), Joe Ascione (drums).
  • Rating: Five Stars
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