Pete Yellin: Mellow Soul
Nowhere near as mellow as its title suggests, this is a lively blowing session by veteran saxophonist Pete Yellin and an all–star supporting cast who seem perfectly happy to close ranks behind the leader and let him take the lion’s share of the bows. Which is only right, as it is Yellin’s gig, despite the imposing presence of trumpeter Henderson, saxophonist Herring and a world–class rhythm section comprised of such acknowledged masters as Corea, Leitch, Swartz and Allen (all of whom Yellin chose for the date). Yellin, who has been a mainstay on the New York scene for years and is coordinator of Jazz Studies at Long Island University, was influenced first by Art Pepper, later by Joe Henderson, and one can hear echoes of both in his playing, although he has long since developed his own pleasing voice on alto and soprano. Yellin is also a pretty good writer of Jazz tunes, and five of the nine songs here are his including the title cut, “Shaw Thing” (dedicated to a former classmate at Juilliard, the late trumpeter Woody Shaw), “Song for Lynn” (for his wife), “Dr. J” (for Joe Henderson, not Julius Erving) and a cleverly remodeled version of “Limehouse Blues” entitled “LIU House Blues.” Completing the program are Herring’s “Folklore,” Duke Ellington’s “Warm Valley” and the standards “You’re My Everything” and “The Touch of Your Lips.” Ray Noble’s evergreen is a highlight, with Yellin’s alto reinforced by Leitch, Swartz and Allen, as is “Warm Valley” (Yellin, alto, Leitch and Swartz). Leitch is a consistently forthright swinger, and Corea seems especially relaxed and cheerful in this context, really digging in hard on his several solos. As for Swartz and Allen, tastefulness is their middle name. No eye–opening sketches on this drawing board, but more than an hour of invigorating post–bop Jazz.
Track listing: Mellow Soul; LIU House Blues; You’re My Everything; Shaw Thing; Folklore; Warm Valley; Song for Lynn; The Touch of Your Lips; Dr. J (63:42).
Pete Yellin, alto and soprano saxophone; Eddie Henderson, trumpet; Vincent Herring, saxophones; Peter Leitch, guitar; Chick Corea, piano; Harvie Swartz, bass; Carl Allen, drums; Louis Bauzo, percussion.
Contact: Metropolitan Records, 317 Madison Avenue, Suite 2310, New York, NY 10017.