Steve Slagle: New New York
Veteran saxophonist, group leader and much in demand session ace Steve Slagle, derives inspiration from the City that he inhabits on New New York. Throughout this record, Slagle exhibits a breezy tone as an alto saxophonist who also incorporates a gritty edge amid an often-angular attack brimming with serpentine lines and lofty thematic inventions. Here, the artist receives some noteworthy assistance from sometimes employer, saxophonist Joe Lovano, and vibraphonist extraordinaire Joe Locke. Yet many of the accolades should be awarded to bassist Cameron Brown, guitarist Dave Stryker and drummer Gene Jackson who collectively supply a conspicuous sense of the dynamic while kicking the proceedings into overdrive when called upon. The opener and title piece, “New New York” sets the stage for the charismatic and quite diverse itinerary of this recording as the band launches into a hybrid funk-bop groove, marked by Slagle’s penetrating yet altogether sweeping choruses and Jackson’s recoiling and somewhat expansive rhythmic implementations.
Slagle serenades New York City’s fabled Loft scene with the aptly titled, “Loftology” which features an extended solo by Locke, whereas Stryker renders exuberant lines while shrewdly reworking the melody during the bridge. However, “Bowery Blues” offers a slight alteration to the vibrant momentum as Slagle and Stryker, here utilizing a bottleneck slide on his electric guitar, execute stinging blues-based and soul drenched unison choruses to great effect as they perhaps elicit vivid notions of this historically downtrodden lower East Side locale!
Lovano and Stryker supplement the attractive hybrid Latin/Swing groove titled, “Complicity” with viscous soloing and synthesized choruses; otherwise, New New York features a truly divergent melding of tuneful compositions that successfully or perhaps imaginatively draw upon the disparate influences contained within – The Big Apple.
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Track Listing: 1) New New York 2) Loftology 3) Bowery Blues 4) Thelonious 5) What Goes Around Comes Around 6) Blackwell
Personnel: Steve Slagle; alto saxophone, flute: Dave Stryker; guitar: Cameron Brown; bass: Gene Jackson; drums. Special guests: Joe Lovano; tenor saxophone: Joe Locke; vibraphone