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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wayne Escoffery: The Only Son of One

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Not since the works of bassist Charles Mingus and saxophonist John Coltrane has there been music so charged with emotion and so engulfed in spirituality as The Only Son of One, an album that bleeds with raw sentiment as it bares the soul of its young saxophonist and composer, Wayne Escoffery, and ultimately brings much catharsis and edification. In the sorrowful and glorious vocalastics of his saxophone, Escoffery reveals the pain and ultimate triumph of his relationship with his parents and, in doing so, emerges frayed but surprisingly whole, humane and, in the process, mature and edifying as a musician. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Playdate: Playdate

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While children spend after school-hours and weekends working on homework and spending time with their families, they also have play dates. They get together with other like-minded friends to let loose and blow off some steam. Musicians often do the same thing and, appropriately enough, three of the five performers on Playdate have been friends since high school. Guitarist Amanda Monaco, saxophonist Wayne Escoffery and pianist Noah Baerman have a shared history, having studied music together in Connecticut, and they've joined forces with bassist Henry Lugo and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza to form Playdate. The group/album title makes ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wayne Escoffery: Uptown

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Bob Mintzer, Kirk Whalum and Ada Rovatti are just a few of today's stunning tenor sax players. Wayne Escoffery can be added to their company. Escoffery, 34, is a native of London who moved to the United States with his mother at an early age. He enjoyed singing, and was a member of the New Haven Trinity Boys Choir in Connecticut. He eventually turned to the saxophone, and has performed with a diverse array of bandleaders and ensembles, including Ben Riley's Monk Legacy Septet, Rufus Reid, Jimmy Cobb and the Carolyn Leonhart Group. On Uptown, he is accompanied ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wayne Escoffery: Uptown

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On Uptown, his fifth album as a leader, the impressive 34-year-old tenor saxophonist {Wayne Escoffery employs an old-fashioned soul jazz lineup of sax, Hammond B-3 organ, electric guitar and drums. But don't expect to hear the sort of bluesy “uptown" jams associated with classic soul jazz tenors like Gene Ammons, Eddie “Lockjaw" Davis or Stanley Turrentine. While he's a hard-swinging tenor with a big, warm tone, Escoffery's passion, expressiveness and long, flowing solos, as well as his thoughtful, forward-thinking compositions, place him more in the tradition of progressive post-bop tenors like Wayne Shorter and Joe Henderson. A ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wayne Escoffery: Hopes and Dreams

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There's a distinguished history of tenor saxophonist and vibes player combos in jazz, including Lucky Thompson/Milt Jackson and Harold Land/Bobby Hutcherson. But those combos featured bands with piano. Tenor Wayne Escoffery and vibraphonist Joe Locke put more emphasis on their teamwork by eliminating the piano in Escoffery's Veneration quartet--quintet on three tracks featuring guest trumpeter Tom Harrell. The band's name alludes to the leader's desire to “play the music of what I consider the masters." There's a gravity and depth to the young (early 30s) Escoffery's sound and approach, one that clearly has benefited from his exposure ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Carolyn Leonhart and Wayne Escoffery: If Dreams Come True

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Singer Carolyn Leonhart and saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, a couple both on and off the bandstand, completed a smooth run at New York's Smoke the weekend of Valentine's Day 2008, highlighting the title cut from If Dreams Come True along with some well-written originals and some intelligently reworked standards. Theirs is a sweetly romantic tale: The couple met at Smoke on Feb. 14th six years ago, married in 2004 and are expecting their first child this year. The romantic backstory aside, this is a rare partnering--an informed collaboration between a voice and a saxophone--and a tricky one to pull off, given ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Carolyn Leonhart and Wayne Escoffery: If Dreams Come True

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The combination of jazz vocalist Carolyn Leonhart and saxophonist Wayne Escoffery is an unusual and exciting one. Leonhart, the daughter of jazz bassist Jay Leonhart, has recorded in the past for Sunnyside Records--Steal The Moon (2000) and New 8th Day (2005). She also has provided harmony vocal work for Steely Dan over an eleven-year period. Escoffery was a member of the exciting Ben Riley's Monk Legacy Jazz Septet, with Memories of T (Concord, 2006) being critically well-received. Escoffery released his own album last year, Veneration (Savant, 2007).

Leonhart and Escoffery met in 2004 and were married two years ...



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