~ David Adler
As part of Jazz Gallery’s consistently impressive “Early Sets”, occuring conveniently at 6:30 pm several times a season, Joe Temperley (baritone sax) and saxophonist/clarinetist Walter Blanding rose out of their Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra (LCJO) confines on April 7th with an assemblage featuring Rick Germanson (piano), Kengo Nakamura (bass), and Quincy Davis (drums). After Nakamura’s exquisite bass solo introduction, the singing baritone of Temperley - the near 75-year old veteran from Scotland who was in celebratory mode for this rare instance of small group freedom - sparked the swinging rhythm section to join in on Bobby Timmons’ “Moanin”. Delicately (not a word customarily associated with anything baritone sax-related but such was the case), Temperley coordinated with Nakamura a mesmerizing scat-like head on the burly horn for Oscar Pettiford’s “Tricotism”. Germanson’s piano trio rendition of Monk’s “Ask Me Now” revealed why he’s become so in demand; his decision to go down the road of Ellington sentimentality, rather than play with Monk’s finessed rhythms, wound up being a nice choice. “A Night in Tunisia”, the closer, showcased both horns again with an absolutely invigorating and wailing blues intro by the younger reedman on tenor. Though the baritone player’s talents are at times underappreciated behind the LCJO curtain, one hopes to get more such opportunities to hear him stretch out.
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