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Fred Woodard: Reviews

Iowa City Press-Citizen

To clear things up a bit for Iowa Citians, this is Fred Woodard Junior. Now making his home in Roxbury, Mass. after graduating from Boston's famed Berklee School of Music. Woodard is a gifted, elegant jazz guitarist and a fine composer. On this recording debut, he has delivered nearly an hour of original and standard material with cool, authoritative command.

Eight of the nine tracks on Arrival!! are in trio format, with bassist Herman Hampton and drummer Tony Fiore providing artful, empathetic support. On the ninth, an epic 13-plus-minute walking blues entitled Iceman, the threesome is joined by trumpeter Cecil Brooks, alto saxophonist Kurtis Rivers and tenor saxophonist Salim Washington to create a sure footed, swing stroll which incorporates the hip chill of late-'50s West Coast and Miles sounds with just a tinge of "free" experimentation.

Blues For Granny is a languid, inventive bossa nova, while the familiar tunes I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face and Just Friends underscore Woodard's deft lyrical sense and eloquent phrasing, which is impeccable throughout the disc.

Arrival!! is a classy, eloquent beginning for Woodard, overlaying youthful energy on a rock-solid bed of time-tested jazz tradition. What air-conditioning does for the body, this disc does for the mind -- and these old days, that's every bit as important.

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