A deep appreciation of jazz lies in the intricacies of listening. Dan Faulk’s Songbook would appear as just another post bop saxophone recording. While this is in part true, a closer listen to the fine print reveals maturity, poise and a singular voice.
Faulk has recorded and played alongside jazz legends J.J. Johnson and Wayne Shorter, and it’s easy to hear why as he plays with grace and proficiency. The strength of Dan Faulk Songbook, Vol.1 lies in music that is reflective and performed to the hilt by expert musicians. Backed by pianist Carlton Holmes, bassist Ugonna Okegwo and the exciting drummer Terrill Will, Faulk interprets ten potent originals with memorable performances.
Dan Faulk is a skilled craftsman and his solos are expressive, fluid, and mature. His tenor has the ubiquitous Coltrane sound but is performed with utter resolve on the killer selection “Vote,” a fine example of the band playing with abandon. He also exhibits robust soprano work on the mellow excursion “Delores,” where his extended solo radiates playfulness and creativity.
The selections encompass the standard blues and bop repertoire but accentuate the talent of each band member. Terrill Will has many shining moments, with energetic solos and nice kit work on selections such as the vibrant “Hopscotch.” “Violets for Tuesday” is reminiscent of Benny Golson’s classic “Killer Joe,” with Okegwo using powerful lines to hold the groove and serving up a stellar solo. Carlton provides stalwart piano work throughout and adds the right touches of soul and mood to the mellow selection “Brotherly Love.”
Faulk is just as skilled as more notable “sax-perts,” as a close listen proves. All one needs is a keen ear.