Doug Webb: Midnight (2010)

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Doug Webb: Midnight
If one is truly judged by the company they keep, then saxophonist Doug Webb is immediately well thought of, even before hearing his music. While Midnight marks his recorded debut as a leader, he's performed and/or recorded with a long list of jazz greats, including Horace Silver
Horace Silver
Horace Silver
1928 - 2014
piano
, Freddie Hubbard
Freddie Hubbard
Freddie Hubbard
1938 - 2008
trumpet
and Billy Higgins
Billy Higgins
Billy Higgins
1936 - 2001
drums
, and appeared on over 150 jazz recordings. Though Webb isn't a household name, millions of people have heard his solos on the soundtracks for Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood
b.1930
piano
-directed films like Mystic River (2003) and Gran Torino (2008).

He brings his vast experience and alluring saxophone sound to the fore on this program of standards, with some support from top-notch players like bassist Stanley Clarke
Stanley Clarke
Stanley Clarke
b.1951
bass
and pianist Larry Goldings
Larry Goldings
Larry Goldings
b.1968
keyboard
. While every performance is well-crafted, Webb really seems to work best in ballad settings. His relationship with the piano is key to the success of these mellow performances. Webb and Goldings seem to complete each other's thoughts on "I'll Be Around," and the saxophonist is left alone to work things out without distraction with pianist Joe Bagg
Joe Bagg
Joe Bagg

keyboard
on "You Go To My Head." "Crazy She Calls Me" is another relaxed performance, though Clarke's solo adds some fireworks.

"Fly Me To The Moon" is given a gentle Brazilian treatment, with drummer Gerry Gibbs
Gerry Gibbs
Gerry Gibbs
b.1964
drums
locking in the groove and holding things together when the steady melodic flow of the song dissolves, putting Clarke in the spotlight for a bit. While Webb manages to insert a few lively performances into the mix, as on the album opener "Try A Little Tenderness" and the waltzing interpretation of "The Boy Next Door"—featuring a killer solo from Mahesh Balasooriya on his only album appearance—the saxophonist returns to ballad territory to end things with a beautiful take on Johnny Mandel
Johnny Mandel
Johnny Mandel
b.1925
arranger
's "Emily." Gibbs is as supportive as ever, with his brushes controlling the time, as Webb, Clarke and Goldings deliver some A+ solo work. While it's tough to stand out with a standards-only record, Webb's solid saxophone work and the presence of some of jazz's best players help Midnight rise to the top.

Track Listing: Try A Little Tenderness; I'll Be Around; Fly Me To The Moon; You Go To My Head; The Boy Next Door; Crazy She Calls Me; Quasimodo; Emily.

Personnel: Doug Webb: saxophones; Larry Goldings: piano (2-3, 6-8); Stanley Clarke: bass; Gerry Gibbs: drums; Joe Bagg: piano (1, 4); Mahesh Balasooriya: piano (5).

Record Label: Posi-Tone Records


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