Peak Experience Jazz Ensemble – Live at Lucy’s Place (Volume 1)

Take a few jazz standards, a few original songs and a few pop covers, put them in the hands of a small, no-frills ensemble, and you’re likely to get something that sounds like Live at Lucy’s Place (Volume 1) (JoySpring Music, 2015) by the Peak Experience Jazz Ensemble.

The leader is bassist Mike Peak. With him are Ron Kobayashi, piano; Ann Patterson, flute, alto and tenor saxophones; Andrea Miller, vocals; Rickey Woodard, tenor saxophone; and Kendall Key, drums. The title is derived from a special room in Peak’s Laguna Hills, California, home, named for his wife, Lucy Peak.

Patterson and Woodard are first to shine on the opener, a lively rendition of Sonny Rollins’ “Tenor Madness.” It’s a toe-tapping, finger-snapping, put a smile on your face arrangement. The ensemble introduces the piece, but the saxophones are the focal points, playing together at first then successive solos. Piano and drums also get their turns, but one cannot overlook the bass groove that Peak lays down throughout.

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