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World Music CD Reviews Jazz

DON CUNNINGHAM QUARTET

By JUDSON KILPATRICK
Published May 31, 2006

Something For Everyone
Luv N’ Haight

Talk about rare! This 35-minute album was originally recorded for the St. Louis Playboy Jazz club in 1965 and less than 500 copies were made. So why reissue it? For one thing, the upbeat jam “Tabu” enjoyed some renewed popularity on the Acid Jazz scene when it appeared on the Luv N’ Haight compilation Hip City. And Cunningham, who plays vibes, sax, marimbas, steel drums, congas, bongos and more, was also quite an inventive arranger. He absorbed worldwide rhythmic influences while touring as part of Johnny Mathis’s band, bringing them all back to St. Louis. There’s the breezy soul-jazz of “Manha de Carnival” and the swinging Latin jazz of “Quiet Village” (which actually gets quite loud). There are three vocal cuts: the quietly elegant “I’m Your Slave,” the peppy Caribbean-influenced novelty “Angelina” and the jaunty Leadbelly composition “Sylvie” (also a favorite of Harry Belafonte). Best of all is the lengthy final jam session “Samba de Orpheu,” giving the whole band a chance to stretch out and show off chops.