Marty Nau Group: At The Bouquet Chorale (2005)
Hardcore alto sax fanatics can finally rejoicetheir day has come! At The Bouquet Chorale features not just altoist Marty Nau but two of his comrades in the alto brotherhood, Vince Lardear and the great Phil Woods. Although the three men are all accomplished players, they wisely refrain from each playing solos on every track and overstaying their welcome. Often only two of the three solo, and that's about right. As enjoyable as their work is, there is not a whole lot of stylistic diversity among them and the fact that the liner notes identify the order of the solos is helpful.
Woods is the first to solo on Lardear's composition "Cadillac Jack, and his statement is a model of light and bluesy swing. Lardear's solo is effective as well, sticking a little bit closer to the melody. His runs get more tightly coiled as the song moves on. Nau acquits himself well on the bouncy solo he lights into on "Calling All Cars. It must be noted that on a project like this, the rhythm section is bound to be underappreciated, but pianist Robert Redd, bassist Tommy Cecil, and drummer Dominic Smith all do a fine job of providing rock solid support for the three horns in the spotlight.
At The Bouquet Chorale is a fine document of musicians enjoying the chance to play with each other. By the time Nau, Lardear, and Woods ditch their altos for clarinets to wail in unison on Ellington's "The Mooche, the listener is having as good a time as they are.
Track Listing: At The Bouquet Chorale; Airmail Special; Rainy Day; Cadillac Jack; Door Number Three; Slash And Burn; Saucy Susan; Calling All Cars; Samba Nau; Delawareness; The Mooche.
Personnel: Marty Nau: alto saxophone, clarinet; Phil Woods: alto saxophone, clarinet; Vince Lardear: alto saxophone, clarinet; Robert Redd: piano; Dominic Smith: drums; Tommy Cecil: bass