By Herb Boyd | Published March 2019
Toward the end of “Eleanor Rigby,” Reggie Washington’s bass takes on a resonant vocal quality reminiscent of Slam Stewart, and if this isn’t what’s meant by “vintage” and “new,” it more than serves the purpose.
Even more to the point, evoking the album’s title is the group’s expedition on Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints” and Mongo Santamaria’s “Afro Blue.” On the former, a Milesian mood is established before pianist Bobby Sparks provides a fresh veneer, his expressive tones a bright, brilliant pathway for the rest to follow. But the real leader is Washington, and his guidance is particularly commanding on “Fall,” which if viewed in a seasonal way is a profusion of hues, none more colorful than the bandleader’s bass. The first portion of “Half Position Woody,” with all its hard bop edges, belongs to Sparks, while saxophonist Fabrice Alleman stakes out the back portion, and it glistens at a blistering pace.
Bobby Timmons’ “Moanin’” showcases Washington’s remarkable facility, the vintage motif summoned once more amid his solo, as a fragment of “I’m Beginning To See The Light” emerges. That light was evident, too, during his lively exchanges on “Afro Blue” with drummer E.J. Strickland, whose nifty moves from the snare drum’s center to its rim approximated the interplay between tradition and innovation, between Washington and his brother, Kenny.
Vintage New Acoustic fulfills its mission of blending the past and present, of meshing some of those vintage evergreens with several gems that deserve reprise. “Always Moving” brackets the date, a fitting description of both Washington and his energetic crew.
Vintage New Acoustic: Always Moving; Fall; Eleanor Rigby; Half Position Woody; Afro Blue; E.S.P.; Thoughts Of Buckshot; Footprints; Moanin’; B3 Blues 4 Leroy; Always Moving (Reprise Ending). (52:11)
Personnel: Reggie Washington, acoustic, electric bass; Bobby Sparks, piano, keyboards, organ; Fabrice Alleman, tenor, soprano saxophone; E.J. Strickland, drums.