Jimmy Halperin: Joy & Gravitas (2005)
Jimmy Halperin should be better known. A highly original tenor and soprano saxophonist who studied and worked with Lennie Tristano, Sal Mosca, and Warne Marsh, he combines a unique conception with a gorgeous tone and great facility. On Joy & Gravitas he's supported by bassist Dominic Duval and drummer Jay Rosen, two musicians whose skills both lay a foundation and create space.
The CD is comprised of an unusual selection of tunes, encompassing standards such as "Night in Tunisia, "My Funny Valentine, "Don't Explain, "'Round Midnight, and "Naima, plus Wayne Shorter's "Witch Hunt, Kenny Barron's "Voyage, Jimi Hendrix's "Spanish Castle Magic, and Halperin's original "Plazma.
"Night in Tunisia is terrific; Halperin's sax is urgent and slightly fractured, at times almost like a human voice. "Witch Hunt is another gem, with Halperin both piercing and lyrical, his sax emitting a series of bleeps and twists and flutters. "Spanish Castle Magic has a great groove that stays true to the Hendrix sound and at the same time takes the music to the next level.
One of the CD's unique features is two takes of "Don't Explain, one each on tenor and soprano. The tenor take sticks close to the melody and brings out the song's heartbreak and melancholy, while the soprano highlights Halperin's conceptual gifts. The two takes offer fascinating insight into jazz's pliability.
Halperin is exciting to listen to because you're never quite sure where he's going next. In the liner notes CIMP producer Bob Rusch muses as to whether Halperin's work is outside in or inside out: it's that quality exactly which makes it so satisfying.
Track Listing: Night in Tunisia; Witch Hunt; Voyage; Love For Sale; My Funny Valentine; Plazma; Don't Explain (take 1); Naima; Don't Explain (take 2); Spanish Castle Magic; 'Round Midnight.
Personnel: Jimmy Halperin: tenor and soprano saxophones; Dominic Duval: bass; Jay Rosen: drums.