Gary Meek is a veteran saxophonist whose robust tone and sterling technique have graced over 200 albums, including some by fusion stalwarts Jeff Lorber and Brian Bromberg. Originals, Meek’s latest disc, presents straight-ahead jazz in the hard-bop vein, full of loping swing and driving linear lines, but it’s not without a steadfast sense of groove.
“What Happened to My Good Shoes” features a blistering, saw-toothed melody that locks into the pocket as it speeds along. Despite the fast clip, Meek formulates his solo with a storyteller’s sense of pacing and aplomb; it’s uninhibited and brimming with ideas, yet feels crisply articulated, even during moments of tension. Meek’s bandmates follow him through every hairpin turn, adding fuel to the fire as they go.