Harold Mabern: Mr. Lucky (2012)
Be that as it may, Mabern and his hard-working colleaguestenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworthgive Davis his due, playing with warmth, vigor and dexterity throughout. Mabern goes it alone on "Hey There," and Alexander sits out on "What Kind of Fool Am I?" Otherwise, it's quartet all the way, and as this is a foursome that has worked and recorded together on a number of occasions, there are no unseemly blips on the radar screen. Alexander, albeit in his early forties and no longer a "young lion," is always a pleasure to hear, lending an aura of perception and integrity to every phrase, while Webber and Farnsworth keep flawless time and give the front-liners all the support they need.
Mabern, far from being overshadowed by his supporting cast, has more than a few melodic and harmonic tricks up his sleeve, showing time and again that, at age seventy- six, he is far from ready to yield any advantage to the younger generation. The fingers are as agile as ever, the musical storehouse apparently unaltered by the passage of time. Even though he entrusts ample solo space to Alexander, Mabern never wavers when it is his turn to shine, swinging freely and happily through every number while endorsing the premise that, perhaps, Sammy Davis Jr. was lucky after all to have admirers like Mabern and crew singing his praises more than two decades after his passing.
Track Listing: The People Tree; As Long as She Needs Me; Soft Shoe Trainin’ with Sammy; Hey There; I’ve Gotta Be Me; Mr. Lucky; What Kind of Fool Am I?; Night Song; Something’s Gotta Give.
Personnel: Harold Mabern: piano; Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone (1-3, 5, 6, 8, 9); John Webber: bass (1-3, 5-9); Joe Farnsworth: drums (1-3, 5-9).
Record Label: HighNote Records