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Dave Glasser: Above The Clouds (2006)

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Dave Glasser: Above The Clouds How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Dave Glasser blows a sweet-sounding alto saxophone, and he swings hard and gets down into the blues on this quartet recording, which brings past alto masters Johnny Hodges and Benny Carter to mind. It's in the beautifully lyrical story telling of an alto horn in front of a fluid, subtle rhythm team.

Glasser has played lead alto in Illinois Jacquet's big band and with the Count Basie Orchestra led by Frank Foster; he's also performed with a bunch of other giants, including Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams, Sarah Vaughan, Barry Harris and Lee Konitz.

Half of the twelve tunes on Above the Clouds are Glasser originals, and the tart "Stitt's Bits" cooks on sizzling high heat. On the original title track, a gorgeously drifting ballad, Glasser proves his prowess with long, stretched out lines in front of a laid-back rhythm, with pianist Larry Ham bringing some very classy understatement to the accompaniment chores.

Glasser sounds as if he could fit right into the Duke Ellington Orchestra; his take on Duke's "Sentimental Mood" is a highlight. His playing takes on a late night mood, ruminating through the melody with perfect control of this beatifully melodic introspection. "Blues for Mat" gets into the highlight category, too—Glasser shows off a rich, resonant tone on his horn in front of the rhythm section of Ham (piano), Dennis Irwin (bass) and Carl Allen (drums), who ease down deep into a relaxed blues groove.

Track Listing: Can't I?; A Little Funky; Our Love is Here to Stay; Stitt's Bits; Above the Clouds; Easter parade; Tranquility; In a Sentimental Mood; Hidden Truths; Every Day I Fall in Love; Blues for Mat; I've Been Working on the Railroad.

Personnel: Dave Glasser: alto saxophone; Larry Ham: piano; Dennis Irwin: bass; Carl Allen: drums.

Record Label: Arbors Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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