by Willard Manus
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.