Leave it to SteepleChase producer Nils Winther to have the fortitude for discovering and then giving recording opportunities to the likes of Ari Ambrose, Michael Cochrane, Dave Ballou, and George Colligan in recent years. Now add to this list the name of alto and tenor saxophonist Danny Walsh. Although he has been heard these days with Joe Locke, Lenny White, Elvin Jones, and Charles Fambrough, Walsh remains largely unknown outside of New York circles. It is therefore hoped that the new U.S. release of his 1997 SteepleChase set, D’s Mood
will turn the tides of popularity for this professional who has been an active musician for over two decades now.
First and foremost, Walsh is a compelling tenor man with a persuasive and bristling sound and a heady imagination. His solo spot on the title track is chock full of melodic and textural ideas that he logically develops in a manner that is bracing and agreeable at the same time. Then, he’s no slouch on the alto horn either. As he starts his several choruses on “I Hear a Rhapsody,” the piano and guitar drop out and Walsh subsequently cooks with just the backing of bass and drums, spurred on by the audible vocal encouragement of his crew. This is not the only tune where Walsh is accompanied solely by the strolling of Anderson and Drummond and it just goes to prove how strong a soloist he can be. The closing “Fizzology” also sports a Walsh and Drummond duo moment that catches fire immediately.
Even as assured a player as Walsh clearly is, his supporting troupe is equally worthy of a mention. Pianist Joey Calderazzo and guitarist Dave Stryker are no strangers to fans of the current jazz scene and each one brings a vivacity and conviction of purpose to the proceedings that seem to keep everyone on their toes, bolstered so artfully by drummer Billy Drummond. While a bit lean on originals, Walsh’s statements on D’s Mood are of such a high caliber that this one comes highly recommended.
Personnel: Danny Walsh- tenor & alto saxophone, Joey Calderazzo-piano, Dave Stryker- guitar, Jay Anderson- bass, Billy Drummond- drums