Glenn Shambroom is a baritone saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist whose approach is reminiscent of the brightest work from Gerry Mulligan, in both his lyrical playing and his catchy themes. With his debut album Include Me Out
, he offers a balanced set of original compositions that will win you over with their boppish swing and smartly crafted arrangements.
You’ll find none of the R&B-ish honks or pops that many baritone players feel compelled to blow on these tracks, for Shambroom is quite at home in the melody. His playing is muscular without being gritty, and firmly in the groove. Shambroom and his tag team partner Billy Novick share a love for clean phrasing and fluid lines, and over the course of the record, the two of them go through the entire reed section from flute to bass clarinet.
But as good as Shambroom and Novick are in the spotlight, it’s the instruments in supporting roles that enrich many of these gems. The soulful playing of Tom West on the Hammond B3 provides a molasses-flavored counterpoint to Shambroom on bluesy shuffles like “Broomshtick” and the bouncing “Include Me Out,” while the acoustic guitar accompaniment by Larry Carsman adds texture and emotion to compelling songs like “Nina’s Dream.” In fact, the bittersweet ballad “Nina’s Dream” is one of the record’s standout tracks, featuring dreamy interplay between soprano sax, bass clarinet and soulful tones from the Hammond B3.
For straight-ahead blowing, you can’t go wrong with “Asset Check,” which swings in the fashion of '50s Pacific Coast jazz. “Clean Sweep” is swinging mid-tempo blower featuring West on electric keyboard. “The Pie Is Gone” is a hip cooker thanks to the addition of bongos, flute and acoustic guitar. And on the slow-tempo side, Shambroom’s intentionally laconic soprano may carry the theme for the clever “Noddin’ At Notoddon,” but its descending lines are prelude to fine blues-soaked solos by Novick on alto and West on piano.
All told, Include Me Out is a distinctive debut for Glenn Shambroom. With his confident swing, shifting arrangements and strong compositions, Shambroom has managed to create a record that is both intelligent and fun. Include me in.
Personnel: Glenn Shambroom: bari sax, soprano sax.
Billy Novick: alto sax, bass clarinet, alto flute.
Tom West: keyboards.
Greg Holt: bass.
Ed Scheer: drums, bongos.
Zac Casher: drums.
Larry Carsman: guitar.