Few veterans of the classic bebop era are still active, and even fewer are currently in their musical prime. Don Lanphere is a major exception. Rather than just recreating the past (which in the past includes leading a date that featured Fats Navarro), Lanphere always looks ahead. A distinctive tenor saxophonist, Lanphere also doubles on soprano and leads a top-notch sextet in the Pacific Northwest.
"Where Do You Start?" has a high-quality repertoire performed by Lanphere, cornetist Jonathan Pugh, trombonist Jeff Hay, pianist Marc Seales, bassist Doug Miller and drummer John Bishop. The five originals by group members include "Blues Away" (which is in Art Blakey hard bop tradition), a feature for Lanphere's soprano on the moody ballad "Ming's Dream" and the novel "Methuselah's Big Duck," which has the cornet and trombone imitating quacking sounds. Of the four other tunes, Jim Hall's "All Across the City" and "Where Do You Start?" (which is never done as an instrumental but works quite well) are joined by Tadd Dameron's "The scene Is Clean" and a wistful version of "A Cottage for Sale."
Just one in a string of excellent Don Lanphere recordings from the past 20 years, "Where Do You Start?" has been put out by Origin, a valuable label that documents the current jazz scene in Washington.