How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Live at the Gallery boasts rollicking, soulful performances of a first-class set list recorded live and hot onstage at a packed jazz club in Austin (Texas) led by Texas native, Austin resident and tenor saxophonist Elias Haslanger and featuring soloists Dr. James Polk
Haslanger, who studied at the Manhattan School of Music, the University of Texas and Southwest Texas State University (when he received the DownBeat Student Music Award for College Outstanding Tenor Saxophone Performance), straddles the US east coast / Midwest tenor sounds. "New York was obviously a great learning experience but I'm more comfortable, personally and musically, back in Austin," he allows. "I think that's given me more confidence to develop my own sound and use it to explore new types of music." In 2013, Haslanger was short-listed by the Texas Commission on the Arts for the role of State Musician of Texas, an honor previously bestowed on such artists as Lyle Lovett
's landmark Somethin' Else (1958, Blue Note) opens Live at the Gallerywith great feeling and sounda little funk, a little blues, a little bounce and a ton of soul. Next, Polk's B-3 creeps into "Watermelon Man" (Herbie Hancock
on B-3. Haslanger sounds soulful, blue and hot, stretching out his lines across several bars and then blistering the melody with hot staccato. In "Goin' Down," a favorite of Texas blues guitar ace Stevie Ray Vaughan