How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Listening to Gateway, by tenor man Jed Levy, is like walking along a familiar street and being pleased by previously unnoticed nuances in the architecture of a building. Levy's tunes are small samples of exploration. With a different number of bars, a key change or a different tempo, Levy takes the listener to unexpected places.
The title cut defines Levy's approach to playing and composing. Time signatures change, various keys are explored as they rise, fall and expand, bars in different time signatures are melded. The bright, swinging "Carillon, for example, is played in Da key seldom used in straight-ahead jazz. "Life of Riley is in the best hard-bop tradition, Levy blowing confidently, with each bar expressing pure joy. George Colligan plays his usual quick-witted, challenging piano and Billy Drummond lays down the law on drums. "Irony is an intriguing original played in 3/4 with a Latin edginess to it, Colligan playing with verve and Levy's sax bursting with colors as Drummond thrashes beside them.
"Lost April is a fine ballad, with Drummond's brushes complementing Levy's suitably dolorous tones. Colligan sits out on "How Am I to Know, which gives bassist Ugonna Okegwo more room to display his robust plucking skills front and center. And Afterthought Blues would be a perfect tune with which to end a late night set. There's nothing groundbreaking here, but Gateway is a solid effort.
Track Listing: Life of Riley; Irony; Gateway; Lost April; Positivity; Chorale; How Am I To Know; Afterthought Blues; Carillon.
Personnel: Jed Levy: tenor saxophone; George Colligan: piano; Ugonna Okegwo: bass; Billy Drummond: drums.