Personnel: Bill Banfield (guitar); Pat O'Keefe (clarinet, bass clarinet, soprano saxophone); Doctor Anatoly Larkin (piano); Keith McCutchen (keyboards); Heather Barringer (marimba, xylophone, percussion); Stokley Williams (drums); Wallace Hill (congas); Wallace Hill, Serge Aquo, Keith McCutchen, Zeitgeist, Terry Burns.
Audio Mixer: Colin McArdell.
Liner Note Authors: Bill Banfield ; Bob Blumenthal.
Recording information: Tracks Records.
Author: Delfeayo Marsalis.
When Bill Banfield points out that his range of influences is far-reaching, he speaks the truth; one hears a strong George Benson/Wes Montgomery influence on SPRING FORWARD, and yet, Banfield's guitar playing also brings to mind players like John Scofield and Bill Frisell. This is a hard bop/post-bop album that occasionally moves into mildly avant-garde territory. Banfield gets into an appealing post-bop groove on "Free Me" (a Banfield original) and John Coltrane's "Equinox" and puts his hard bop talents to work on Montgomery's "The Thumb," but things became more left-of-center on "Free Us"--which is easily the disc's most avant-garde offering and is totally unrelated to the abovementioned "Free Me." The tune demonstrates that Banfield has no problem embracing the abstract and the cerebral when he is in the mood for inside/outside playing. Banfield's eclecticism never sounds forced or unnatural; he comes across as an improviser who genuinely appreciates a variety of jazz, and that outlook yields likable results here.