Post-bop of the kind that could have been recorded any time in the past forty years.
John Eyles 2002
This is tenor saxophonist Ned Otter's first album as a leader. Prior to this, he served a long apprenticeship with George Coleman, including membership of Coleman's Octet and featuring on their album Danger High Voltage (another release on Two and Four). For So Little Time, Coleman repays the favour, joining Otter's band for three of the album's eight tracks. The band also includes two other long-term associates of Coleman's, Harold Mabern on piano and Billy Higgins on drums (in one of his last sessions before his death last May), plus relative newcomers Tom Kirkpatrick on trumpet and Daniel Vitale on bass.
The music is classic post-bop of the kind that could have been recorded any time in the past forty years. It wouldn't have sounded out of place on Blue Note in the sixties (it even has Rudy Van Gelder as the recording engineer). All of the tracks, including five Otter originals, put the focus primarily on the soloists. Every member acquits himself well, although Mabern and Higgins jointly manage to steal the limelight, adding drive and panache to the band. Otter reveals his true class by matching Coleman admirably. On "The Right To Know", Coleman lays down a fine solo, only to have it bettered by a rapid-fire tour-de-force from Otter. By comparison, Kirkpatrick rather suffers by being recorded too far back in the mix. Otter is featured at length on the ballad "Funny", which showcases his exquisitely mellow tone and impeccably timed phrasing.
This album will not set the world alight, but it does contain some excellent playing and will supply many long hours of listening pleasure. A debut to be proud of.