More new music from Louisiana. But do not mistake this for Zydeco, no.
Mainstream jazz is alive and well and living in Louisiana. My mailbox has been populated as of late with a number of good recordings from artists that, in one way or another, have a connection to Dr. Alvin Batiste, famed clarinetist and professor at Southern University in Baton Rouge. The most recent in this procession is the young saxophonist Russ Bryant.
Reared in Atlanta, Bryant began his musical journey in the local public school. His real education was to begin in college while attending Louisiana State University and gigging in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The end result? Russ Bryant and his band play a solid and intelligent brand of Post Bop in a vernacular manifested in both his originals and chosen standards.
Never Assume is a panorama of "modern" jazz. The title cut is jaunty Hard Bop. Monk's "Well, You Needn't" is retooled in a shuffling time. "Atlanta Traffic" is an organ tenor orgy. James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)" is funky fun. "Body and Soul" is played reverently, but never smells of age.
Bryant's band is capable and supports him well as he winds his way through the lexicon of post-1960s mainstream jazz. This music is great fun from a new and rising talent.
Personnel: Russ Bryant: Saxophones; Gino Giles: Guitar; Mike Esnealt: Piano, Organ; Roland Guerin: Bass; Troy David: Drums.