ALBUM REVIEWS / JAZZ : B SHARP JAZZ QUARTET “Mirage” ** 1/2 <i> MAMA Foundation </i>
B Sharp’s second album for the MAMA label is more ambitious than last year’s debut release. Keyboardist Rodney Lee replaces pianist Eliot Douglass and brings an aggressive crispness, especially to up-tempo numbers, that wasn’t evident with Douglass. Each member, excluding Lee, contributes music, and the program, though firmly anchored in the tradition, makes the statement that this foursome isn’t above extending the definition of jazz.
Their cover of Joe Henderson’s “Inner Urge” features a solid, hip-hop-styled beat and Lee’s Hammond organ accompaniment. Vocalist Carmen Bradford joins the band for drummer Herb Graham Jr.'s “The Velvet Touch” and “C.R.S.” Saxophonist Randall Willis sounds especially good on soprano (“Spirit of J.C.”) but sometimes seems to lose direction during the fastest portions of his tenor solos (“Beside Jo’self”).