Performing with a core quartet that includes guitar great Reg Schwager, pianist Tosoff and drummer Morgan Childs, the leader makes it more interesting by featuring Pat LaBarbera and Mike Murley—two tenor saxophone masters who serve here as special guests in a very special reed section that swings mightily. In fact, for this occasion, Whiteman penned the original “Pat and Mike” as a tribute to the duo, a slow burn of a number where the reed men provide a nice call-and-response, with Schwager and Tosoff joining the leader on brisk solos on a definite keeper of a track.
The album is full of memorable moments and that begins right out of the gate on the opening title track where the bebop sound is alive and well. There are some light pieces such as the balladic “Not So Early,” on which the pianist displays her chops on the keys. Speaking of the pianist, her original “Re-Entry,” picks up the pace on a quick tempo tune, highlighting one of the superb performances by the reed section. The warm spot of the recording is found on the light ballad “Waltz for Zeke while the band returns to traditional bebop on the splendid “Residue.”
The murderer’s row of musical line-ups where one track is followed by another that’s even better, begins with “Residue,’ and continues blasting one thunderous sound after another on “Mangoes,” “Pat and Mike,” “La Belle Epoche,” and ends on the sensuous and sublime Brazilian-tinged “Right Here, Right Now, with You.”
Well, it seems that bassist Richard Whiteman has crafted one masterpiece of a recording. Perfectly titled and, actually, far better than Very Well & Good, it is quite impressive in every way.
Very Well & Good; Not so Early; Re-Entry; Waltz for Zeke; It is What it Is; Selohssa; Residue; Mangoes; Pat and Mike; La Belle Epoche; Right Here, Right Now, with You; Dancing with Zeke.
Richard Whiteman: multi-instrumentalist; Amanda Tosoff: piano; Reg Schwager: guitar; Morgan Childs: drums; Pat La Barbera: saxophone; Mike Murley: saxophone.