Jeff Krow – Audiophile Audition
Bob Mover has been a well-kept secret among the jazz inner circle for way too long. He is an accomplished 61 year old saxophonist, who has released nine records, and performed with such heavy hitters as Chet Baker, Charles Mingus, Jaki Byard, and Lee Konitz. On his latest two CD set on Motema, he also shows he has a warm set of pipes, as he both sings and plays a range of saxophones on a set of strictly solid standards. His vocal range is not wide, yet he brings a mellow soulfulness to such classics as “So Near and Yet So Far,” “Gone With the Wind,” “You’ve Changed,” and the title track, “My Heart Tells Me.”
Backed by a dream rhythm section of Kenny Barron, Bob Cranshaw, and Steve Williams, Mover equates himself well with vocals that bring to mind Milt Hinton. However, it’s his sax playing that demands attention. He can turn on a dime from a warm mainstream timbre to stretching out into brief “open playing.” Barron and Cranshaw are nicely upfront in the mix with Kenny playing (as always) the right comped sparkling phrases, and Bob’s bass, both woody and muscular. The mood ranges from the mellowness of Cole Porter’s “So Near and Yet So Far” to a more assertive throw-down version of another Porter tune, “Get Out of Town.”
Mover shows his mastery on the primary saxophones, with it being a toss-up trying to pick a favorite, with old school mastery meeting post bop freedom. You can see why he fit in with both Baker, Mingus, Konitz, and Byard.
A man for all jazz seasons…
Disc 2 goes in the direction of a bigger horn section band with the addition of Josh Evans on trumpet on all tracks, and Steve Hall providing a tenor mate on three tracks. Disc 2 is nearly all instrumental, and is a mix of five Mover compositions along with Kenny Dorham’s “Fair Weather,” and Mal Waldron’s “Dee’s Dilemma.”
Mover’s bop credentials are on display on the second disc. The addition of Josh Evans on trumpet helps flesh out the mood in a robust direction, like a strong cup of coffee upping the energy and clearly inspiring Mover. “Survival of the Sickest” is a clear indication that free bop and the blues mate well, while “Mugawump” blends Latin with the Caribbean and start/ stop time.
Mover includes a Kenny Dorham composition, “Fair Weather” to honor KD, with whom Mover spent the summer of 1969, along with Wynton Kelly. Dorham had a strong influence on Bob, and Mover states that “Dorham did not live enough for me to really thank him. Putting this song in the world now is my way of trying to do that…”
There is something for everyone on this two CD set. Winning compositions, warm vocals, and brilliant playing from an all-star cast. It’s well past time for Bob Mover to move into the big name spotlight
It Amazes Me
Ken Dryden, All Music Guide
“Bob Mover has recorded sporadically as a leader since the late 1970s, but this pair of 2006 sessions features him in an ideal setting, playing both alto and tenor saxes, while also adding a few friendly vocals. He is backed by a top-notch rhythm section, including pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Dennis Irwin(who lost his battle with cancer in early 2008), and drummer Steve Williams. On alto sax, Mover is reminiscent of Phil Woods in the swinging treatment of “How Little We Know,” an infrequently performed gem by Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer; he captures the subtlety of “The Underdog” (penned by Al Cohn and Dave Frishberg), while his hushed, deep vocal in “Stairway to the Stars” proves him to be an effective crooner, with superb background by Barron, who is noted for his work with singers. Canadian guitarist Reg Schwager is a guest on several tracks, among them the unusually relaxed setting of “Sometime Ago” and a jaunty rendition of “People Will Say We’re in Love.” Guest tenor saxophonistIgor Butman appears on the sole original, the snappy bop vehicle “Erkin.”
John Barron, All About Jazz
“New York-based saxophonist Bob Mover is arguably one of the jazz world’s best kept secrets. In a career spanning four decades, Mover has shared the stage with the likes of Jaki Byard, Charles Mingus and Chet Baker, yet, for the most part, has flown under the radar of mainstream recognition. It Amazes Me, the saxophonist’s first recording as a leader in over twenty years, is a cozy collection of choice standards performed in a straight-ahead style.
Long-time followers of Mover may be surprised to hear the saxophonist open the disc with his own brand of mellow vocalizing on “How Little We Know.” Although his laid-back singing on six of the ten tracks comes across as lukewarm, there’s plenty of inspired blowing on alto and tenor to satisfy even the most ardent bop fan. The effortless fluidity heard on “I Believe In You,” “Stairway to the Stars” and “People Will Say We’re In Love” shows that Mover can light it up as well as anyone. With the kind of street-wise tone expected from a seasoned veteran, not to mention an inexhaustible amount of melodic ideas, Mover improvises with grace and clarity. Exhibiting an edgy lyricism, especially on ballads like “The Underdog” and “(Tu Mi) Delirio,” one can hear traces of Jackie McLean, Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins in Mover’s infectious wailing.
As far as swinging rhythm sections go, things don’t get much better than veterans like pianist Kenny Barron, the late bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer Steve Williams. The three accompany and solo with a right- on-the-money approach. Canadian guitarist Reg Schwager adds tasteful lines to four tracks and Russian tenor saxophonist Igor Butman gets into a spirited back-and-forth with Mover on the leader’s own composition “Erkin”
It Amazes Me is a gem of a recording from a first-rate artist deserving of wider recognition.”
Will Smith, Jazz Times
“For reasons not always clear to listeners, some musicians remain underappreciated for years while others with only a modicum of talent have all the career breaks. It Amazes Me, the first leader recording in more than two decades by alto and tenor saxophonist-singer Bob Mover (recorded in 2006), should cause many to ask why. It’s Mover’s playing on both saxes that will have many wondering how this man could so long have been flying under the radar. His world-weary vocals on six of the CD’s 10 tracks won’t attract that much excitement, yet are deeply felt and conveyed, if somewhat of an acquired taste.
With superb support from pianist Kenny Barron, late bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer Steve Williams, plus Canadian guitarist Reg Schwager on four tracks and Russian tenor saxophonist Igor Butman on one, Mover sails through this 67-1/2-minute batch of mostly standard fare, some not all that widely known, with swinging grace and creative fervor in a modern style slightly influenced by all the usual suspects, yet always clearly of his own making, particularly in the way notes cascade from his horns. If one needs guideposts to be pulled into this music, try Mover’s intense tenor work on the second track, “I Believe in You,” or his two-tenor joust with Butman on the lone Mover original, “Erkin,” written for co-producer Erkin Bek. It’s not that his alto is on the back burner, of course, as will be obvious on the opening “How Little We Know” and “Stairway to the Stars.”
Fans already know that Barron doesn’t make bad recordings, even in a support role, so one needn’t go into much detail regarding his work here. Suffice it to say that he’s always there behind Mover with the right stuff, as well as offering beautiful solo moments. Schwager should also be heard more, as his playing on “People Will Say We’re in Love” and “Sometime Ago” will indicate.”
You Go To My Head
Dave Nathan, All Music Guide
Ira Sullivan and Lee Konitz- influenced altoist Bob Mover recorded this hard bop session for the Japanese Pony Canyon label’s Jazz City series. Since then, Germany’s Bellaphon has reissued the album for distribution in Europe, with limited distribution in the U.S. Mover is joined by an all-star rhythm section of Benny Green on piano, Rufus Reid on bass, and Victor Lewis on drums, with tenor sax manSteve Hall present on four of the tracks. Listeners get the full treatment of bop sax playing. Kicking off with a medium-to-uptempo, foot-tapping version of “You Go to My Head” followed by a soft, raspy rendering of the title tune. Benny Green‘s sensitive touch on piano provides an appropriate backdrop forMover‘s sax. Tenderness once more comes to the fore on “I Fall in Love too Easily” followed by a less than a minute romp with “Gallop’s Gallop,” with Steve Hall making one of his appearances. “Concerto for Albert” honors pianist Albert Dailey, with whom Mover has recorded. Benny Green obviously plays a leading role. Everyone has a lot of fun with Thelonious Monk’s quirky “Off Minor,” including Mover, who quotes a few bars from “Pennies from Heaven.” “Blues for the Road” becomes a ’50s-type blowing session with a go-around of trading fours among Mover‘s alto, Hall‘s tenor, and Lewis‘ drums. The session ends with a gentle exposition of the Johnny Mercer/Johnny Mandel ”Emily,” again with Benny Green playing the major support role. Here Mover gives a nod toward the Phil Woods approach to the alto. The limited U.S. distribution is unfortunate; hopefully another record label will pick up this album for reissue.
Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
“One selection on this album is a song leftover from Mover’s Xanadu debut In the True Tradition; the altoist is heard jamming with bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Bobby Ward on “Jimmy Garrison’s Blues” Otherwise this album mostly features Mover with pianist Albert Dailey, bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Ward on a variety of standards. Tenor-saxophonist Steve Hall sits in on “Twardzik” during which Mover switches to soprano. A highpoint on the album is the duet between Dailey and Mover on a lengthy rendition of “Yesterdays.” Overall this set offers high-quality modern bebop.”
On The Move
Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
Bob Mover’s first session as a leader matches his alto and soprano with trumpeter Tom Harrell, pianist Mike Nock, guitarist Peter Sprague, bassist George Mraz, drummer Jeff Pappez and singer Jay Clayton on four lengthy performances: three Mover originals and “Darn That Dream.” The use of Clayton’s voice as a part of the ensembles gives the band an unusual sound. Mover sounded pretty strong, if a bit derivative at this point (he was 24), but Harrell generally takes solo honors. This session has not yet been reissued on CD.
Neither an avant-gardist nor exactly a mainstreamer, Mover is one of the most accomplished and thoroughly engaging saxophonists around. – Eric Levin: People Magazine
One of the most accomplished alto saxophonists to arrive in the 70´s (ahead of the current curve of revivalists). Mover is still going strong: he is a fleet and soulful improvizer with a Bird-through-Konitz pedigree… Gary Giddings / Village Voice Choices
Taking Charlie Parker, Lee Konitz, and Sonny Rollins as exemplars early on, Mover is the sum of his parts with a mind and a heart of his own. – Leonard Feather/Ira Gitler: The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz
His music rings with a profundity that speaks to both heart and mind…Mover´s voice is his own, worth listening to…carefully. – Chuck Berg: DownBeat
Saxophonist Bob Mover is one of that rare breed, a man unafraid of taking musical chances. – Len Dobbin: The Montreal Gazette
Jazz á 200% – Francois LaChare: Jazz Ho
Mover, in an extremely stylized way, has personalized the bebop tradition into something uniquely his own. – Mark Miller: Toronto Globe & Mail
This is the kind of high-spirited performance that represents the ultimate Jazz expression. – John S. Wilson: The New York Times
The day that Dexter Gordon died, Bob Mover was doing a live jazz recording when a blackout occurred. Bob was supposed to finish playing at 7:30 pm but he continued all night with no power or lights and dedicated the night to Dexter. We were packed with people, sweating from the heat, but no one left until 1:00 am. The music was brilliant! – in an artcle written about The Pilot – Toronto’s infamous Jazz club
A very sensitive artist and a true jazz icon. – Bob Comden: LA Jazz Press
Like Charlie Parker, Bob Mover knows how to make musical escapes and come out all sexy and beautifull. – Mitch Borden: Small’s