This was Bud Shank's final performance with his quartet. What a way to go out-roaring, full of life, full of fun, full of music-with a rhythm section he loved in the town where he shaped his career. "We haven't lived in Los Angeles in years," he told the Jazz Bakery audience in January, 2009, "and it's really good to be home."
Initially, Bud wanted to make bossa nova the theme of the Jazz Bakery engagement and the CD. Jazzed Media owner and producer Graham Carter countered with a suggestion that they make it an album of "not just the Brazilian kind of thing, but open it up to different cultures, time signatures and rhythms." The notion excited Shank and he ran with it. Still, he gets in his bossa nova licks on the opening track, "Chicane," a title inspired by his auto-racing hobby. A chicane is an extra turn designed to slow speeding cars. He makes a bossa nova of "Lotus Bud," the ballad Shorty Rogers wrote in 1954 for Shank to play on flute. He continues implementing role reversal in the second half of the medley by converting the Antonio Carlos Jobim bossa nova "No More Blues" into a straight-ahead jazz piece.
The rhythmic adventures in the rest of the tunes speak for themselves, but allow me to call your attention to the empathy between Shank and Mays in their duet on "Lover Man," the high level of excitement in "Manteca" and-throughout-the interaction and concord unto ESP of Shank, Mays, Magnusson and La Barbera. This is jazz improvisation at its highest level.