Steve Slagle: Steve Slagle Plays Monk
While it would have seemed logical for Slagle to pursue perhaps a tribute to Mingus, owing to his time currently spent with the Mingus big band, the Monk concept actually fits him quite well. His pungent alto, along with Stryker's biting tone, gives this music a contemporary edge that offers a new stance without sacrificing integrity. As an added bonus, Slagle pulls out his alto clarinet on "Jackie-ing" to great effect, at times suggesting the collective attack of Don Byron's work with Bill Frisell. Throughout, bassist Anderson and drummer Nussbaum are supportive and interactive, with Stryker's voicings often suggesting a larger front line than what we have in reality.
In the final analysis, what a breath of fresh air it is to find a tribute album that manages to tip a hat to its honoree while also maintaining an identity and integrity of its own. And for anyone out there still ill at ease regarding the future survival of jazz, the sounds of Slagle and Stryker, both as a pair and separately, are just a few of the many coming from committed players who are proving you don't have to reject tradition in order to innovate.
Track Listing: Think of One, Worry Later, Ugly Beauty, Criss Cross, Jackie-ing, Monk, Light Blue, Bemsha Swing, Epistrophy (60:44)
Personnel: Steve Slagle- alto saxophone & alto clarinet (track 5 only), Dave Stryker- guitar, Jay Anderson- bass, Adam Nussbaum- drums
Record Label: SteepleChase Records