Denver-based jazz bassist Erik Applegate has strong enough chops to have performed with jazz heavies like Milt Jackson, Harold Mabern and Tom Harrell, but on Red Skies, his debut as a leader, Applegate shows he's a skilled and well-versed composer, as well. Over the course of his six originals here, Applegate, joined by pianist Dana Landry, drummer Jim White and guitarist Steve Kovalcheck, traverse from the lively and swinging "1 2 3" to the contemplative "Another Replay" and the calypso of "Island Life." On the grooving "Collectivate," one of the album's highlights, Applegate lays down a bass line that recalls Eddie Harris's "Cold Duck Time," while Landry gets down on the Rhodes and Kovalcheck channels John Scofield. Add in a poignant take on the standard "Motherless Child," and you've got a thoroughly listenable disc.
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