Mace Hibbard: Time Gone By" data-original-title="" title="">Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, Miles Davis and Branford Marsalis, Atlanta-based saxophonist/composer Mace Hibbard delivers the creative and highly entertaining Time Gone By, his second album as leader and the follow-up to his critically-acclaimed debut, When Last We Met (CDBY, 2007).
A busy sidemanin 2011 alone, appearing on albums by Joe Gransden's Big Band, trumpeter Melvin Jones (also a member of Hibbard's quintet) and keyboardist Bryant ThompsonHibbard opens the set with the hard-driving hard bop burner "Rude on Purpose," featuring a two-horn attack where Jones joining the saxophonist on a strong opening statement before proceeding to an exchange of salvos throughout the piece. "December 18th" and "Remembrance of Things Past" are the disc's soft ballads, highlighting the very able rhythm section of pianist Louis Heriveaux bassist Marc Miller and drummer Justin Varnes
The music turns hot and heavy on the decisive "Indecision," where the band plays another hard number reminiscent of pianist McCoy Tyner's songbook. Johnny Christopher's oft-recorded standard, "Always on My Mind," reveals a soft and elegant flair, capturing Hibbard's best solo of the album. "The Rain King" thunders through like a freight train travelling at high speed, with both Hibbard and Jones blowing enough to ensure this train is powered by steam not electricity.
Hibbard takes over the title tune, laying down gorgeous aggressive tenor phrases on one of the set's better tracks. "La Danza Olvidada" charges out of the gate, carrying a sizzling Latin tinge and providing Varnes a bit of percussive space, while Hibbard scorches it with his high-octane performance. Though it has been four years since Hibbard's last recording as leader, Time Gone By marks another exceptional album from this talented, Grammy Award-winning reed player who delivers like a master. Let's hope his next project as leader does not take as long.