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All-Reviews.com Music Review
Undercurrent

  out of 4

All-Reviews.com Music Review: Undercurrent

Artist: Kenny Drew
Genre: Jazz
Release Date: November 1998


Review by Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
No rating supplied

Kenny Drew (piano) recorded in the 1950s with such legends as Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Milt Jackson, Buddy DeFranco's quartet, Dinah Washington and Buddy Rich. The Blue Note album "Undercurrent" (1960) partnered Drew with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes on six of his original arrangements. Drew's decision to move overseas damaged his potential for notoriety received by many of his peers. This is a Blue Note masterpiece, and some of Drew's best work as a solo artist. Although he was an adept sideman, his leadership blossomed on outings such as this.

The eight-minute and twenty-five second "Funk-Cosity" seemed far ahead of its time, not only for its hip name but for also the musical developments during the arrangement. "Groovin' The Blues" is a slower tempered number showing how blues and jazz could easily integrate and also become flexible enough for improvisation. With the varied playing on those particular tunes, Drew proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that he earned his rightful place alongside the legends that he once served as only support. He was an integral part of their musical legacy, and then he began to create his own by solidifying his role as a bandleader. The group members give Drew stellar support, as they all were seasoned veterans of jazz at the time. Although Drew was the director and paved the way for the others, their abilities are personified in the music, which is the reason why they shined and stood out so well. In a sense they were a direct reflection of their astute leader.

Classic Records' stunning representation of this Blue Note classic really brings out the music's exceptional authority. The quintessential essence of the jazz palette is drawn out, allowing every nuance to paint the corners of each song. Every aspect of the music flowers within the D.A.D. process. I am sure this album was a joy to hear when it was first released in 1960. Now we have so much more to hear and enjoy with the wonderful technological advances of the 24/96 Master Tape Sound process. Not only is this jazz perfected, its sound taken to the next level.

1. Undercurrent (Drew) - 7:16
2. Funk-Cosity (Drew) - 8:25
3. Lion's Den (Drew) - 4:53
4. The Pot's On (Drew) - 6:05
5. Groovin' the Blues (Drew) - 6:19
6. Ballade (Drew) - 5:29

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