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One For All: The Third Decade

One For All, The Third Decade, NYC, hard bop, jazz

Their name comes from the title of the last Art Blakey Jazz  Messengers recording. Their spirit, similar to one of those Blakey bandstand nights, comes from 6 men swinging, together, charged with the hard bop spirit of jazz.

One For All is saxophonist Eric Alexander, trumpeter Jim Rotondi, trombonist Steve Davis, pianist David Hazeltine, bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth.

In his liner notes for the new One For All release, "The Third Decade", Grammy Award-winning author Neil Tesser writes that "One For All inhibits their hard bop matrix anew - to allow the individual backgrounds to come out in the writing and arranging, avoiding the "sounds like Blakey or Silver" pattern.

It's the  difference between sounding modern and being modern.

You feel it right now, in the opening track, "Easy", one of two by trombonist Davis, who was part of that last Blakey message.
Pianist David Hazeltine first gives us "Buddy's", all the fire and filigree apparent from a group heading forward toward 30 years, with look back spirit of pianist Buddy Montgomery as inspiration. Hazeltine's other group workout, "K-Ray" is a  salute to drummer "Killer Ray" Appleton who kindled the bands of Coltrane, "Brother" Jack McDuff, Pat Martino and Freddie Hubbard.

Although a trumpeter, Jim Rotondi was influenced by another great messenger, trombonist Curtis Fuller. "For Curtis" has that free range feeling, trumpet and trombone out front.

"Ghost Ride", written by saxophonist Alexander, certainly shows this ain't no ragtime band. It's a gorgeous floater where the band gives us a feel for the soul between the notes, the tenor playing just the right notes.

Neil Tesser accurately describes bassist John Webber's "Babataytay" as a neo-boogaloo. It's certainly fashioned to see if you have any of your old moves left.

If it's heat you want,. Alexander's high octane "Frenzy" should do it. Everybody gets to drive, foot on the gas, no cops around.

"Hey! Stevie-D" by drummer Joe Farnsworth finishes this session with a party. No, this band will have little trouble reaching 30. What a groove to take us along.

"The Third Decade" from One For All comes out June 3rd on Smoke Sessions Records.

Gary Walker
Morning Jazz

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