Milt Jackson's Sunflower (CTI Masterworks) was among the initial batch of CDs to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of CTI Records. This recording dates from late 1972 and had the great vibes played joined by a band that included Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on Bass, Billy Cobham on drums, Ralph McDonald on percussion, and Freddie Hubbard on trumpet. In addition there is a string section and classically oriented horns (alto flute, English horn, oboe, piccolo) on some of the tracks with Don Sebesky's arrangements on a re-mastered, remixed and re-edited reissue.
Jay Berliner's flamenco-styled guitar sets the mood on Jackson's For Someone I Love, with Jackson and Hubbard playing with lovely restraint on this ballad. What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life, by Michel Legrand, and Alan and Marilyn Bergman also displays Hubbard melodic side with immaculate support with the strings creating a dreamy cushion. Hancock switches to electric piano for interpretation of The Stylistic's hit, People Make the World Go Round, providing a base for the solos by Jackson and Hubbard before taking a lengthy one himself. Hubbard contributed the lilting title track on which strings reappear and it is followed by a Milt Jackson blues, SKJ, the most straight-ahead performance here with plenty of heat generated. It is performances like this one that really get this writer’s juices going.
Sunflower may be a bit sweet at spots for this writer's taste, but it is strongly played and easy to listen to.
My review copy was provided by a publicist for the label.