By Howard Mandel | Published December 2019
Ron McClure has had a major career in jazz going on 60 years, though like many excellent bassists his tireless support has gained him fame mostly among other musicians. Best known for membership in Charles Lloyd’s late-1960s quartet, McClure also has lent his soft but steady pulse to Buddy Rich’s sextet, Carla Bley’s Escalator Over The Hill, and Blood Sweat and Tears. He’s also led his own sessions since 1990, 13 of them on SteepleChase.
Characteristically, McClure presents conventional mainstream acoustic jazz on Lucky Sunday, pleasingly intelligent, subtly swinging, polished and intimate, designed for anytime-listening. All 10 tracks are dynamic, if only moderately so—they neither bog down nor race for excitement. The bassist-leader penned six tunes, his title track offering the strongest melody. Although four song titles reference water, no programmatic theme is evident beyond the possible suggestion that listeners kick back and float throughout this album’s hour-long runtime. “Stay Where You Are” is a Blue Note-like boogaloo, but doesn’t push its funk, and the concluding sequence of the waltz “Quiet Life,” the ballad “Mending Ties” and the spacious “To Begin” reinforces the dreamy mood conjured from the jump.
Lucky Sunday: What’s Due; The Shining Sea; Lucky Sunday; Deep Sea Urban Planning; Stay Where You Are; The Waves; You And The Salt; Quiet Life; Mending Ties; To Begin. (65:54)
Personnel: Ron McClure, bass; Anthony Ferrara, tenor saxophone; Rob Block, piano, guitar; Pete Zimmer, drums.