When the recording first came out, I didn't like it. My reevaluation has to do with the spirit of the recording. Neal Peart's status in the drum world allowed him to get the recording made and to cast a wide net, bringing in some of the best drummers in the business.
Many of the contemporary drummers didn't understand the music. This is a major flaw. The performances were, for the most part, acceptable. The really great moments were provided by the Jazz Players. The arrangements in Buddy's book are challenging for any drummer outside the Big Band genre, doubly so if you only have a couple of passes at getting a track.
The drummers came well prepared and they did their very best to shine their particular light on Buddy's legacy. They weren't always successful but they played with passion. This was not apparent in the tracks recorded by Simon Phillips who sounds like a marching band run amok. Dave Weckl was clearly bored and it shows.
Neal Peart could have done a better job of matching arrangements to the drummers but when the match ups clicked it was magical. Matt Sorum,then the drummer for "Guns and Roses" was stunning on "Buleah Witch". The tune was right in Matt's wheelhouse and he tore it up.
Steve Gadd's interpretation of "Love For Sale" has become a classic. He played the arrangement like he wrote it, a skill that I admired most in Buddy. Steve played a loose small group style that brought an interesting color to the arrangement. It is the outstanding track.
Tributes are tough, especially when the honoree is an icon. What this recording has is edge and spirit, the kind of emotions you have when you play a piece of music for the first time. Spirit coupled with awesome ability was Buddy and for that we have to give our thanks to Neal Peart.
The Groove Continues...