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Chad Eby: Broken Shadows (2010)

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Chad Eby: Broken Shadows How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Attention grabbing music these days is either accomplished by the loudest voice (American Idol anybody?) or the rudest performance. While not saying jazz has descended to that level, certainly the squeakiest wheel often gets the most attention. Then again, hearing a genuine voice like saxophonist Chad Eby reaffirms the instinct that an authoritative performance from a rock steady musician need not be imprudent to get noticed.

This trio session, with bassist Steve Haines and drummer Jason Marsalis

Jason Marsalis
Jason Marsalis
b.1977
drums
packs Eby's music aspirations from varying musical inspirations. Opening with Thad Jones
Thad Jones
Thad Jones
1923 - 1986
trumpet
' "Tip Top," Eby sports a soprano saxophone sound acquired from John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
circa 1961. That unadorned sound, seemingly simple to the ear, reveals Eby's mastery of the very difficult straight horn. He returns to the soprano on his original "Little You," altering his tone, rejuvenating the sixties sound into a modern chamber feel and then morphing once again on his tribute to Steve Lacy
Steve Lacy
Steve Lacy
1934 - 2004
sax, soprano
on "Epitaph II: Line For Lackritz" with a more acerbic tone.

The "Epitaph Suite," four commissioned compositions, allows Eby to pay homage to Dewey Redman

Dewey Redman
Dewey Redman
b.1931
sax, tenor
, Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles
1930 - 2004
piano
, Jackie McLean
Jackie McLean
Jackie McLean
1932 - 2006
sax, alto
and Lacy. Each piece displays a little of the honoree, but is more telling of Eby's sound. They can dribble an enticing blues for Charles, slowly defrosting a sexy tenor sound or cleanly snap off notes in praise to McLean without sounding derivative or clichéd.

Saxophonist Branford Marsalis

Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis
b.1960
saxophone
joins Eby's trio on two tracks. The two tenors reprise Marsalis' duel with Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
b.1952
saxophone
on "The Sentinel," from The Dark Keys (Columbia, 1996); the two also interlock horns on the Redman tribute, "Epitaph I: Doo-We-Inn." Like Marsalis, Eby's tenor tone can be boundless, blues-inflected, and wholly satisfying. These two players are indeed simpatico.

Guitarist Doug Wamble guests on Tom Waits

Tom Waits
Tom Waits
b.1949
vocalist
' "I'm Still Here." His acoustic guitar accompanies the trio on this sad ballad, which also allows Jason Marsalis to accent the track with spirited cymbals and brush work.

For purists, the highlight of this session might be Eby's unaccompanied version of Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
1899 - 1974
piano
's "The Single Petal Of A Rose." While not directly attributed to the late saxophonist Frank Morgan
Frank Morgan
Frank Morgan
1933 - 2007
sax, alto
, Eby's patient and stoic rendering recalls the pain and beauty of Morgan's gentle persona. Bravo.


Track Listing: Tip Toe; Mira; Epitaph I:Doo-We-Inn (for Dewey Redman); Orange Was The Color Of Her Dress, The Blue Silk; Little You (for Spenser); Epitaph II: Line For Lackritz (for Stev Lacy); I'm Still Here; Sentinel; Broken Shadows; Sunset And The Mockingbird; Epitaph IV: J-Mac (for Jackie McLean); Epitaph III: The Kid From Albany (for Ray Charles); The Single Petal Of A Rose.

Personnel: Chad Eby: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Steve Haines: bass; Jason Marsalis: drums; Doug Wamble: guitar (7); Branford Marsalis: tenor saxophone (3, 8).

Record Label: Cellar Live

Style: Modern Jazz


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