The straight-ahead date opens with a swinging rendition of “Old Devil Moon” with Menza blasting off as the rhythm section pushes him along deftly before Downes exhibits with his fluid, precise playing why he was so highly regarded followed by a short solo from the leader. Menza gets really going on Miles Davis’ “Freddie Freeloader” from the legendary “Kind of Blue” recording, and his fervent solo is followed by Downes fresh twist on the theme. Menza’s marvelous way with a ballad is exhibited on a lovely “Poor Butterfly,” with the trio providing nice understated support. Young’s bass joins Menza to state the theme of Miles Davis’ “Solar” and his emphatic playing helps propel this swinging rendition. There is also lovely renditions of Benny Golson’s “I Remember Clifford,” and Dave Young’s wistful “What a Time We Had,” which showcases Young’s strong playing. Menza contributed the title track which is a solid medium tempo blues from Menza’s pen and followed by an alternate take of ““Freddie Freeloader.”
Throughout “Bones Blues” Menza is robust and tender as appropriate, and the trio of Magadini, Downes and Young are terrific in their backing and their own playing. It simply is a wonderful recording of swinging, straight-ahead jazz.
I received my review copy from Delmark. This review appeared in the September-October 2014 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 356). Here is Pete Magadini with Jim Galloway and Dick Wellstood doing some classic jazz.
Here is Don Menza.