Carl Allen & Rodney Whitaker
Drummer Carl Allen and bassist Rodney Whitaker make a solid team co-leading this studio date that blends enticing originals with imaginative treatments of two Motown hits. With pianist Cyrus Chestnut, alto saxophonist Steve Wilson, and guitarist Rodney Jones, the band delivers a sauntering, soulful take of Smokey Robinson's "Get Ready," while the brisk romp through Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues" features superb solos all around, with both pieces arranged by Diego Rivera. Allen's breezy "Alternate Thoughts" showcases Wilson's exuberant soprano sax and Chestnut's buoyant piano, along with Jones' tasty acoustic guitar solo. Whitaker's "Summer (The Sweet Goodbye)" opens deceptively with a melancholy air before transforming into a driving post-bop setting. Organist Dorsey Robinson is added for two numbers, highlighted by a spirited take of the contemporary gospel hit "We Fall Down."