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Ralph Lalama: The Audience (2010)

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Ralph Lalama: The Audience How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Tenor saxophonist Ralph Lalama is a respected jazz journeyman probably best known for his more than 25-year tenure with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

band/orchestra
. He's also played and recorded with the Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
b.1952
saxophone
Nonet, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band and drummer Joe Morello
Joe Morello
Joe Morello
1928 - 2011
drums
's group, among others. But he's had relatively few opportunities to record as a leader. His 2008 release, the well-received Energy Fields (Mighty Quinn), was his first in over a decade and his first ever for a US label. So it's nice to see him back so soon with a worthy follow-up.

Lalama is a powerhouse soloist who has forged his own sound by fusing the styles of various tenor sax forebears, Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
b.1930
saxophone
being the most apparent. He and his fine quartet (John Hart
John Hart
John Hart
b.1961
guitar
on electric guitar, Rick Petrone
Rick Petrone
b.1947
bass, acoustic
on bass and Joe Corsello
Joe Corsello
Joe Corsello

drums
on drums) explore a nicely varied set including modern jazz standards like Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
b.1933
saxophone
's mid-tempo gem "Marie Antoinette" and Duke Pearson
Duke Pearson
Duke Pearson
b.1932
piano
's complex blues "Minor League." They even revisit "I'm an Old Cowhand," a tune Rollins helped introduce to the jazz world on his landmark 1957 Riverside album , and dig up "Love Thy Neighbor," a Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
1903 - 1977
vocalist
hit from the 1930s, later recorded by John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
. Lalama showcases his exquisite ballad chops on "Portrait of Jennie," another tune covered by Rollins, and lays down some bluesy, hard-edged funk with Hart on Stevie Wonder's "Livin' for the City." In addition, three brief, duo improvisations spotlight his talented band members.

Throughout, Lalama proves himself a master improviser with a rich, supple tone and an abundance of musical ideas. It's an impressive outing by an underrated jazz veteran with plenty to say.


Track Listing: Marie Antoinette; Livin' For The City; Love Thy Neighbor; Jonme; Portrait of Jennie; Minor League; Jome; Kiss & Run; Ricme; I'm an Old Cowhand.

Personnel: Ralph Lalama: tenor sax; John Hart: guitar; Rick Petrone: bass; Joe Corsello: drums.

Record Label: Mighty Quinn Productions

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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