From Brooklyn, alto saxophonist Sammie Roberts interprets three jazz standards and two original compositions on this abbreviated program. His mellow tone and seamless phrasing pour delicately over the session, creating a clear atmosphere where swing rhythms and lyrical melodies unite. Preferring a no-nonsense instrumentation, Roberts works with double bass, piano and drums while including samba and bossa nova in the program for variety.
The saxophonist delivers "Summertime" gracefully with a focus on its blues shadow and the song's heavy heart. Pure and refined, he allows his keyboard player, Jimmy Roberts, to surround him with a smooth jazz fragrance. "Tell Me Why Monica," an original, moves comfortably on bossa nova twists and turns. This one features a burning electric guitar solo from Jimmy Dale that sizzles like the hot summer sun on a tropical beach. Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday" is represented through an emotional excerpt that Roberts interprets with double bass. The duo keeps this one short and sweet but passionate. "Courtney's Bounce," another original tune, and Charlie Parker's "Little Suede Shoes" give the program a strong sampling of the days when Bird was everywhere and his alto saxophone could be heard from coast to coast.
Roberts, who moved to Southern California in 1999, works the club circuit as well as the big studios. Networking comes easy when you appreciate the jazz tradition that began when Duke Ellington and George Gershwin were young, moved brashly through the bebop heyday of Charlie Parker, and eventually settled down with the colorful palette that today gives jazz its powerful allure.
Personnel: Sammie Roberts: alto saxophone; Jimmy Dale: electric guitar (2); Jimmy Roberts: piano, Rhodes.