By Scott Yanow | Published January 2018
Gary Meek has contributed to the backgrounds and ensembles of a countless number of sessions, not only as a saxophonist but occasionally on keyboards. He has also released a handful of albums as a leader.
Originals is Meek’s definitive recording. Joined by an acoustic trio consisting of pianist Mitchel Forman, bassist Brian Bromberg and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, with trumpeter Randy Brecker and guitarist Bruce Forman on three songs apiece, Meek is in inspired form throughout. This no-nonsense jazz set of eight of the leader’s songs is a consistently strong effort.
Meek displays an original voice throughout, both as saxophonist and writer. The first three songs feature Brecker in stirring form, making exciting statements. However, Meek is not overshadowed, and on “When You’re A Monk” he takes a particularly adventurous and witty solo that recalls Eric Dolphy in spots. He also creates heartfelt ballad statements on “Spiritual For Iris” and a duet with guitarist Forman (“Lost Dreams’), and does some wailing on “Pacific Grove Fog” that is worthy of Ernie Watts. Also filled with inventive solos by Forman and Bromberg, Originals is a high-quality set of modern straightahead jazz.
Originals: What Happened To My Good Shoes; When You’re A Monk; Suite For Maureen; Spiritual For Iris; Stella On The Stairs; Pacific Grove Fog; Mr. DG; Lost Dreams. (62:00)
Personnel: Gary Meek, tenor saxophone; Mitchel Forman, piano; Brian Bromberg, bass; Terri Lyne Carrington, drums; Randy Brecker, trumpet, flugelhorn; Bruce Forman, Michael Lent (3), guitar; Airto Moreira, percussion (3).