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CD REVIEW: Richard Sussman Quintet “Continuum”

Origin Records


If you think they’ve stopped writing jazz standards like they used to in the late 1950s, listen to the new album by the Richard
Sussman Quintet. Appropriately titled “Continuum,” the CD is full of tunes that harken back to the best of the hard-bop years while retaining a contemporary feel. The opener, “Spare Change,” is not only a tribute to Horace Silver - it’s got such a great, catchy head - it could be mistaken for a Horace Silver tune. But the album is by no means a retro affair; the far-more-complex title tune that closes the album leaves no doubt about that.

In addition to composing seven of the nine compositions, Sussman plays great piano and wild synthesizer (especially on “Meridian”). And he gets more than a little help from some great friends. Randy Brecker, on trumpet and flugelhorn, plays an especially strong solo on “Alone Together.” Jerry Bergonzi, on tenor saxophone, rises to the Coltrane-inspired occasion on “Theme For Ernie.” Bassist Mike Richmond solos beautifully on Sussman’s “It’s Never Too Late.” And Jeff Williams is superb throughout on drums. A special guest, guitarist Mike Stern, makes an appearance on one track written especially for him, “Mike’s Blues.”