The brotherly saxophone duo of Alex and Asher Stein makes its extraordinary record debut with the very boppish Quixotic
, which surprisingly turns out to be one of the finest bop-infused albums of the year. Two young cubsnot quiet lions of jazz yet, but certainly on the way to earning that distinction, Alex plays the tenor with the poise of Stan Getz while Asher handles the alto like a young Phil Woods or Bud Shank. Together they lead a very tight quintet that augments the horn section on several tunes to include trumpeter Duane Eubanks and trombonist Jonathan Voltzok.
Quixotic includes eight lively originals, three jazz standards and the colorful and perky "And So I Love You," from bebop guru Barry Harris, which features the entire horn section on a standout tune. The brothers share the lead throughout, but none so gracefully as on the Ira/George Gershwin classic, "Embraceable You," spinning a wonderful new read to this immortal score.
The two saxophonist seem to be having a lot a fun on Asher's "Eve's Drop," and they're not the only ones to be enjoying themselves here, as Joe Blaxx also pounds the drums. Pianist Mferghu also contributes his share of bop with the blistering "Midlife Crisis," a loud, boisterous and spirited number. The band changes direction on Brooks Bowman's semi-ballad, "East of the Sun," where the boys solo tenderly and Mferghu dices the music with a nice bit on the keys.
There's some power playing from the guys on the following three originals, "Mr. QC," "Charmed Quark" and "Trailblazer." The album wraps up with another Mferghu original, the mid-tempo "You've Been Had," and the closing jazz standard, "This Time The Dreams On Me."
For bebop served hot, take a bite out of The Stein Brothers' debut, Quixotic. This one sizzles all over with exciting grooves and tasteful solos, leaving one wanting more. Alex and Asher Stein play like they've been doing this for twenty years with much to offer, and Quixotic is only the beginning.
Personnel: Asher Stein: alto saxophone; Alex Stein: tenor saxophone; Mferghu: piano; Doug Largent: bass; Joe Blaxx: drums.