Mort Weiss Meets Sam Most, recorded live at Steamers Jazz Club and Café in Fullerton, California, is an easy flowing compilation of some of the best smooth Jazz around. A light recording that still has the marvelous improvisation; it is just what you would expect from a jam session of such great players.
Aside from the named greats, there are a handful of highly talented artists who round off this super-star quintet. Ron Eschete who is currently performing and recording with the Ron Escheté Trio is on the seven string guitar. Roy McCurdy who plays drums is known for his contributions to Cannonball Adderley's Quintet. Acoustic Bass is masterfully played by Luther Hughes. Hughes teaches electric bass and double bass at Cal State Fullerton between his recording sessions. The five superb musicians all work together on this disc, and from the sound of it, had an absolute blast performing together.
The album contains nine tracks, but with four of them over nine minutes long, one nearly thirteen, it is furthest thing from a short album at an hour and thirteen minutes. It's hard to pick out a stand-out track as they are incredible performances of the jazz standards. The one that grabs my attention every time is the Duke Ellington classis, "I Got it Bad and That Ain't Good," which features Most's vocals, matured by whiskey and cigarettes, complete with some unique scat, and breathtaking flute playing.
"Poor Butterfly" is beautifully soulful and sweet, highlighting Weiss' expert clarinet playing. The instrument moans and cries like a jilted lover and is just as impassioned. It is the opposite end of the spectrum from "Jitterbug Waltz" which precedes it. Though the instrumentation is just as animated it's upbeat and warm and an all-around fun listen.
The tracks fade and merge as if they were planned or at least rehearsed, but as Weiss divulges on the liner notes, they were played on the fly. "My sessions are very spontaneous and dependant on instant communication between the players. On some of my CDs, I literally met the other musicians on the stand. I've been very fortunate to play with such great players. I've never played with Sam Most of Luther Hughes before we started recording. I believe in complete spontaneity, jazz in its fullest sense."
The album is part of a triumphant return to music for Weiss who abandoned music more than thirty-five years ago to deal with his addictions of alcohol and drugs. Though it's not a unique tale, it is especially sad when you hear the music contained herein and think of what he could have recorded in those nearly four decades he was absent from the scene. You shouldn't spend but a minute dwelling on what might have been, however. Instead put this CD in and let yourself be immersed in the romantic interpretations of standards by these extreme talents.