Manny Kellough And Friends
Review by Willard Manus

The Virginia-based drummer Manny Kellough became a band-leader twenty years ago, after having worked for such notables as Billy Preston, Ray Charles, Freddie Hubbard and the Rolling Stones. On MANNY KELLOUGH AND FRIENDS SPEAKING OF JAZZ (EAST TO WEST), he shows his love of relaxed, melodic jazz, aided by a band chosen from both sides of the USA.

On the first eight tracks, the West Coast musicians William Knowles (piano), Wes ‘Suga’ Biles (bass), Antonio Parker (alto) and Michael Thomas (trumpet) join Kellough in investigating such classics as “Secret Love,” “Nothing from Nothing” and “Smile.” Long-time musical comrades, they play together in tight, swinging fashion. Joining them on three numbers is vocalist Julian Hipkins, who provides drama and fire to the proceedings.

On the three East Coast tracks, pianist Matt Clark, bassist Gary Brown and singer Azure McCall make themselves heard, with imaginative and spirited versions of “How High the Moon,” “East of the Sun” and “Foggy Day.”