Sunday, June 2, 2019

Album Review: Ralph Peterson & The Messenger Legacy- Legacy Alive, Volume 6 at the Side Door

The drought in new recordings by jazz musicians based in Kansas City is disquieting.  Yet Bobby Watson continues to make noise.  The hometown hero features prominently on Legacy Alive, Volume 6 at the Side Door, an incendiary 105-minute live album by Ralph Peterson & The Messenger Legacy.  Watson rose to fame as a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in the 1970s.  He joins Blakey alumni Bill Pierce (saxophone), trumpeter Brian Lynch (trumpet), Geoffrey Keezer (piano) and Essiet Essiet (bass) in a band led by drummer Peterson.  The new collection includes invigorating interpretations of Watson’s modern-day standards “In Case You Missed It” and “Wheel Within a Wheel”.  The selections are every bit as vital as readings of older Jazz Messenger staples like “Blues March” and “Along Came Betty.”  Hard bop often sounds formulaic at this late date, but there’s nothing tedious about Legacy Alive, Volume 6 at the Side Door.  An enormous talent accustomed to the cyclical nature of musical climates, Watson flourishes in drought conditions.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

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