Who's this Virginia Mayhew woman anyway, Dexter Gordon's daughter? Sonny Rollins' niece? She plays the saxophone like a blood relative of those two giants on Sandan Shuffle
. Actually, we know the reedist well from her standout 2003 effort, Phantoms
, as an artist who has embraced the mainstream mode and ridden it with vigor and supreme assurance into the top level of straight-ahead saxophonists.
Since Dexter Gordon's name came up, Mayhew opens the disc with the original title tune, which features her tenor sax sounding strong and loose and relaxed, Gordon-like, over a bouncing rhythm. This good-time composition is about as danceable and engaging as a piece of music can get.
And since Sonny Rollins' name came up, track two, the classic Harold Arlen gem "Let's Fall in Love," goes into a Rollins-esque calypso/cha cha groove, with Mayhew's tone blowing hearty and robust, and first-call bassist Harvie S sounding especially elastic in the rhythm.
Mayhew wrote four of these tunes, revisiting her classic "Monterey Blues" from Phantoms
. Two more numbers were penned by bassist Harvie S; and the group takes on Monk with an especially fine, funky and loose-limbed rendition of "In Walked Bud." The saxophonist breaks out the soprano horn on Hoagy Carmichael's "I Get Along Without You Very Well" and on Mayhew's own classic-sounding "Spring is Not Here."
With 2003's Phantoms
, Virginia Mayhew claimed a spot on the top level of jazz saxophonists. Sandan Shuffle
backs that claim up.
Personnel: Virginia Mayhew: tenor and soprano saxophones, guiro; Kenny Wessel: guitar; Harvie S: bass;
Victor "Yahya" Jones: drums