Dark genius from Duke Pearson
– quite possibly one of his hippest records ever, and an album that's filled with surprising twists and turns! At one level, the set seems to be a simple batch of soul jazz tunes – in the mode of Pearson
's mid-60s classics on Blue Note – but at another, it opens up into unusual phrasings, timings, shades, and tones – all of which are years ahead of their time, and serve to keep the album full of complexity throughout! Many tracks groove here – but in a very subtle way that often moves a bit towards modal jazz. And the players on the set shade things in unconventionally – sometimes using understatement and space as their strongest tools – clearly directed by Pearson
's budding talents as an arranger. Players include James Spaulding on flute and alto sax, Harold Vick on soprano sax, Johnny Coles on trumpet, George Coleman on tenor, and Gene Bertoncini on guitar – and Pearson
himself plays a bit of celeste in addition to his regular piano. Titles include a great version of Joe Henderson's "Soulin", plus Ron Carter's "Little Waltz", and Pearson
's own "The Fakir", one of the best tracks he ever wrote! Other titles include "Hush A Bye", "Prairie Dog", and "Angel Eyes".