Playdate: Playdate (2009)
The disc opens with Monaco's spirited hard-bopping swinger "Copper Tone," a perfect warm-up vehicle for the lyrical guitarist, as well as Escoffery and Baerman. The three deliver succinct solos, spurred by Lugo's pulsating walking lines. Baerman's waltz "Remember the Goldfish," a disc highlight, has a rhythmic give-and-take with catchy thematic sweeps. Here, Escoffery builds his tenor solo to a level of otherworldly intensity, followed by an explosive drum excursion by Sperazza.
A colorful rubato guitar introduction sets the pace for "Yes, Yes, Oh Yes!," a groovy minor blues by the late pianist James Williams. "T-Time," composed by Baerman is the most intricately composed piece from the session, utilizing the instrumentation at hand to skillfully weave together a variety of motifs into a coherent unit. Refreshingly, the tune settles into a more straightforward middle section, allowing Escoffery to soar on soprano saxophone.
The disc slows to a melancholic turn with "Baby Man," a swaying ballad by the late saxophonist John Stubblefield. Escoffery and Monaco seem to relish in the tune's laid-back groove, exhibiting patient and thoughtful lines. Sperrazza contributes the disc's closing tracks, "Milan Kundera," an exotic sounding piece with an odd-metered funky feel and "Memday," a light-as-air ballad featuring a strong bass solo by Logo.
The camaraderie and shared musical vision of the ensemble is evident throughout this superb recording. Hopefully, there are more playdates scheduled.
Track Listing: Copper Tone; Remember the Goldfish; Yes, Yes, Oh Yes!; T-Time; Baby Man; Milan Kundera; Memday.
Personnel: Wayne Escoffery: saxophone; Noah Baerman: piano; Amanda Monaco: guitar; Vinnie Sperrazza: drums; Henry Lugo: bass.
Record Label: Posi-Tone Records
Style: Modern Jazz