By: Edward Blanco

Bassist Rufus Reid crafts a brilliant new album featuring his Out Front Trio of pianist Steve Allee and drumming sensation Duduka Da Fonseca. But highlighting the individual voices of the trio on Hues of A Different Blue was just too simplistic for Reid, instead he brings together a host of special guests whose remarkable performances here, make this a memorable recording. Reid assembles a first-rate horn section with trumpeter Freddie Hendrix joining tenor saxophonist JD Allen and Bobby Watson on alto performing on selected tracks. Finally, there is Brazilian icon Toninho Horta lending his unique guitar voice on three pieces.

Presented here is a fine blend of originals with new arrangements of standards and cover tunes like the Harold Arlen’s classic “Come Rain Or Come Shine,” Eubie Blake’s “Memories of You” and “These Foolish Things.” On “Memories of You” the bassist performs a humble duet with pianist Allee while doing another duet with saxophonist Watson on “These Foolish Things”—both delicate and introspective in nature. One of the more memorable numbers on this album has to be the Brazilian-tinged Reid original “When She Smiles Upon Your Face” featuring the entire horn section weighing in and guitarist Horta for the first time. Horta contributes one of his own compositions with “Francisca” highlighting the guitarist both on the guitar and vocals.

There are only a couple of tracks on which Reid’s core group performs without special guests and they are on the opening scorcher “It’s The Nights I Like” and the following “Candango,” an Allee composition where the bassist is most pronounced. Other highlights include “Summer’s Shadow,” the stellar Da Fonseca piece “Manhattan Style” and the somewhat dark and haunting title piece and finale.
Containing excellent musicianship, a marvelous performance from bassist Rufus Reid, charts that sizzle and music full of rich melodies, Hues of A Different Blue is an obvious success deserving of critical acclaim from critics and audiences alike.

Year: 2011
Label: Motema Music
Artist Web: