Jeff Darrohn: T--Bird '60 (2007)
Inspired by the reed section arrangement techniques of two-time Grammy Award winner Bob Florence from decades of arranging for his own Limited Edition Big Band, master saxophonist Jeff Darrohn creates a six-horn sax section for the recording of T-Bird '60 with one major distinctionhe is the entire sax section!
Through the use of overdubbing, Darrohn is able to play all four saxophones (tenor, alto, soprano and baritone) on the same track and essentially augment the sound of a basic quartet with a pronounced brassy background without additional personnel.
Darrohn's quartet features pianist Dave Posmontier, bassist Craig Thomas and drummer Tony Vigilante, all prominent players on the Philadelphia jazz scene. Darrohn, who grew up near Philadelphia, is a veteran of the areas big bands, and still maintains strong ties there after his move to London in 2004.
Except for one track on this album ("Waltz For Two Lawnmowers ), where fellow-Philadelphia big band colleague Bob Apgar accompanies the leader as guest on a second baritone, Darrohn delivers a phenomenal performance as a one man sax section. He records on two tenors, two altos, two baritones and the soprano on certain occasions.
This unique album offers up ten original charts of hot smoking West Coast jazz, showcasing various hard-driving saxophone voices provided by one man. Opening up with "The Chase, Darrohn establishes his dominant role on the horns with exciting solo performances repeated throughout the album.
Velvet Blue provides the only real ballad-style number on a delicious smooth slow grinder. There's a good selection of lively pickup beats replete with torrid sax solos from Darrohn beginning with the audacious "Henry. "Something Unknown is one of two signature tunes on the album, a richly melodic and boisterous track featuring the saxophonist on several different saxophones and blowing a few bars of Ellington's "Take The 'A' Train in the middle of an absolutely terrific cut.
Perhaps his best-known composition and the other signature here is the swinging "Bopsanova, with Darrohn squeezing out marvelous notes on a soprano lead on this wild and wonderful bop number. Saving the best for last, the saxophonist arranges a furious sax section performance supported by his own many solos on the title track.
I listened intensely to one extraordinary album as this one man sax section assaulted my hearing (in a positive way of course) and proceeded to blow me away with the music. T-Bird '60 delivers a rousing musical experience with a blistering dynamic performance from Jeff Darrohn. A fine composer and master of the sax, Darrohn produces a thriller of an album.
Track Listing: The Chase; Royal Festival Blue; Velvet Blue; Henry; Take Off; Something Unknown; Waltz For Two Lawnmowers; Bopsanova; London For Eastern Groove; T--Bird '60.
Personnel: Jeff Darrohn: alto, tenor, soprano and baritone saxophones; Dave Posmontier: piano; Craig Thomas: bass; Tony Vigilante: drums; Bob Apgar: baritone saxophone(7).