by T.Bruce Wittet
Volume 3 No 5, November – December 1999
Rick Shadrach Lazar
I took Toronto percussionist Rick Lazar out to lunch, paid the bill myself, just so I could bear him talk. Maybe some of his ‘cool’ would rub off on me. After all, New Yorker magazine, quoting bandleader Paul Shaffer, devoted half a column to this very important facet of Rick’s demeanor.
Seriously, if everything after the first track, ‘Dr Seuss’ were blank, my day would be richer for the groove – train beat comme Latin – inflicted by Lazar and Kelso. You know, we romanticize Memphis rhythm sections but we could be looking much closer to home. Add trumpeter and special guest Randy Brecker to the usual bunch – Hugh Marsh, Collin Barret, Lester Boyke, John Johnson, and Gordon Sheard – and it’s infallible. Mostly recorded live, this CD is the tightest, most exciting to have come down the pike in ages. For example, you will rarely hear Songo as exciting as ‘Mambo Squad.’ Rick’s percussion covers the full bandwidth: It’s no big deal to clatter around in the upper registers; he’s got all the lower-mids down, as well. New Yorker got it right.