Randy Weston's Spirit of Life Orchestra has been one of the best jazz bands of the '90s, and one of the ensemble's strengths has been the reed playing of Talib Kibwe. Kibwe has now changed his West Indian name to the more easily digested stage moniker T.K. Blue and released his second solo album, "Another Blue." Unchanged are the lyrical phrasing and seductive tone Kibwe gets from his alto sax, soprano sax and flute.
Like his mentor Weston, Kibwe cross-fertilizes jazz with borrowings from African, Arabic and Caribbean music. This is especially obvious in the kalimba-keyed melody of "Crossings," in the Islamic motifs of the Pharoah Sanders-like hymn, "Evening Prayer," and in the calypso-flavored flute part on "Pileau." But Kibwe also betrays a sure grasp of the American jazz tradition in his tributes to Wayne Shorter, Bud Powell, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis.
Kibwe works in several different settings on "Another Blue" -- an unaccompanied duet with Weston, a sextet of up-and-coming youngsters like himself, and an all-star quintet featuring trumpeter Eddie Henderson and pianist James Weidman. In every context, Kibwe asserts himself as one of the brightest talents in jazz today.
Appearing Friday and Saturday at Baltimore's New Haven Lounge and Monday at Blues Alley.
To hear a free Sound Bite from T.K. Blue, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8101. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)