Youth is Wasted on the Young.
Ari Ambrose is a precocious Tenor/Flute wunderkind
who is debuted as leader on this Steeplechase release. Steeplechase has garnered the reputation of sponsoring the young players while maintaining a storehouse of older talent. In spite of his youth, Ambrose has performed most recently with Steely Dan and Tom Williams and now finds himself in charge on the present sides.
Ambrose chooses the challenging Tenor-Bass-Drums trio format and fares very well. This instrument combination fully hit the map with Sonny Rollins’ A Night At The Village Vanguard (latest release—Blue Note 99795, 1999) and came full circle with Joe Henderson’s 1995 State of the Tenor: Live At The Village Vanguard (Blue Note 29979). It is a fruitful format that expands the freedom of performance first heard on Gerry Mulligan’s pianoless quartet recordings. Ambrose deftly guides his trio through a challenging set of originals and standards that includes John Coltrane’s “Just For The Love” and Monk’s “Ugly Beauty”.
Ambrose’s tone is full and muscular (very much like Rollins’ and Henderson’s). He swings authoritatively with bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer Billy Hart. All players have a chance to air it all out, particularly on the longer cuts, such as Victor Young’s “Love Letters” and Ambrose’s own “Olvidandos”. Steeplechase does the jazz public a favor by distributing such music.
Personnel: Ari Ambrose: Tenor Saxophone; Dennis Irwin: Bass; Billy Hart: Drums.