CD: Ronnie Cuber

Ronnie Cuber, Ronnie (Steeplechase)

Cuber has been playing uncompromising jazz on the baritone saxophone for more than half a century. With pianist Helen Sung, bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Jonathan Blake, he is in top form in this 2009 album that escaped my attention until recently. Following his hard-bop gruffness in Freddie Hubbard’s “Thermo,” Cuber floats with tenderness through Scott LaFaro’s “Gloria’s Step” and Michel LeGrand’s “Love Theme From Summer of ’42.” At the speed of thought, he burns through ”Ah Leu-Cha” and “All the Things You Are”, giving young Blake a run for his money in their exchanges.

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