The possibilities of making jazz music these days are unlimited. Consider the Herbie Nichols Project, Mingus Big Band, or recent revival in jazz-fusion (cleverly disguised as the new "jamband" phenomena). Musicians have the ability to simultaneously advance their art and celebrate the successes of the past. Saxophonist Ned Otter takes you to New Jersey circa 1960, as this one-hour of music captures the popular music known as the Blue Note sound.
This debut by Otter follows the premier last year of his jazz label. Two And Four, and its distinguished recording by George Coleman entitled Danger High Voltage. Otter sat second horn to Coleman last year. Here Big George sits in on three tracks, switching to alto saxophone on Gigi Gryce's "Nica's Tempo." The band favors the hard bop hard swinging sounds that Alfred Lion loved, even employing Blue Note's favorite engineer Rudy Van Gelder. Even Otter's five original compositions favor the infectious sounds of the bygone era. Otter and Coleman trade solos on "The Right To Know" with the blues swing of pianist Harold Mabern. When Billy Higgins takes his reserved (yet smoking) solos you cannot help but be reminded that this was one of the last recordings made before he passed away.
Otter's saxophone sound reveals his admiration for Coleman and his broad shouldered sound. His choice of Mabern, Higgins, and trumpeter Tom Kirkpatrick delivers a solid session. Kirkpatrick is another devotee to the coolness of the 60s sound, slurring and slashing pastels over the rhythm sections constant drive.
If you believe jazz reached its pinnacle sometime in the early 1960s or you need a reminder of the intricate craftsmanship that was (is) hard bop, this is your record.
Personnel: Ned Otter - Tenor Saxophone; George Coleman - Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone; Tom Kirkpatrick - Trumpet; Harold Mabern - Piano; Daniel Vitale - Bass; Billy Higgins - Drums.