Eddie Landsberg: Remembering Eddie Jefferson (2003)
James Spaulding's alto saxophone puts an exclamation mark on the overall Charlie Parker influence that is omnipresent on this disc. Spaulding fires up his horn and adds additional heat for his worthy constituents: guitarists Randy Johnston and Coleman Mellett, plus drummer Ben Dixon. Dixon contributes his usual flawless time, and his embellishments are the kicker on this particular julep or two.
"Mr Jefferson," a tribute to Eddie Jefferson, is both sweet and strong. It's the start of a great listening experience as the ensemble drives home the message behind Gates' artful vocals.
"In The Land Of Oo Bla Dee"... Diz is smiling that smile somewhere, because this tune takes off like Jesse Owens. Spaulding's alto solo has just the right inflection and feel... the organ cooks like a Sunday pot of greens. Dixon has his say, again driving the band. This piece is the highlight of a very distinguished lineup of songs: bebop from start to finish.
Gates and the gang give the Ja Da melody of "Things Are Getting Better" new meaning. Everybody swings... Landsberg's B3 jumps on this tune like a hungry dog. Hot swing. On another Eddie Jefferson chestnut, "I Just Got Back In Town," Gates enters with his usual flair and Landsberg's comping is made to order for Giacomo. He swings it like a Brazilian Bolo...
The familiar melody of Bird's composition "Confirmation" always gets my attention. Landsberg and company give it a new twist: Gates' magic vocalese and Landsberg's inspirational playing are prime factors in making it work so well. On "Eddie's Delight," James Spaulding's intensity matches the scene set by Landsberg. As the musicians say, "They got after it."
Great lyrics on "Dexter Digs In" set the stage for this bop-from-the-top tune. Clever four bar exchanges between Gates' voice and Spaulding's flute add a more than nice touch.
Bird lives in Giacomo Gates' clever lyrics on "Now's the Time." I must admit that this humble correspondent's admiration of Charlie Parker is reinforced completely by the words sung by this talented artist. I can add nothing to what's said in this marvelous descant. The group's presentation says it all. Especially the lyrics.
If you love swinging jazz, this recording was made for you and especially me, who lives in the Land Of OO Bla Dee...
Track Listing: Mr Jefferson, In The Land Of Oo Bla Dee, I Just Got Back In Town, Stella By Starlight, Things Are Getting Better, Soft And Furry, Confirmation, Eddie's Delight, Dexter Digs In, I Feel So Good, Now's The Time. All Of Me (By special Guests, Yvonne Kauffman, Charlie X and Patrick O'Shea).
Personnel: Eddie Landsberg, B3 Organ; Giacomo Gates vocals; James Spaulding, Alto / Flute, Randy Johnston and Coleman Millette, Guitar; Ben Dixon, Drums.
Record Label: Berghem Records