187

Jeff Zelnick: A Little More Than the Blues

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
A player who writes - or a writer who plays? Jeff Zelnick performs so capably in both areas on his debut CD that it could be a toss-up. As a writer, Zelnick composed all selections on More Than the Blues except the old Eartha Kitt favorite, "C'est Si Bon." As a player, he meshes beautifully with fellow front-liner Valery Ponomarev and solos with warmth and assurance throughout. I don't know who Zelnick's influences are, but three of them have to be Phil Woods, Jackie McLean and Cannonball Adderley. In fact, with Ponomarev sitting in for Cannon's brother, Nat (but playing trumpet, not flugel) the session often reminds one of Adderley's late lamented quintet. Ponomarev, an underrated improviser with plenty to say, matches Zelnick note for note, and is especially impressive on "There, There!" (on which Zelnick sounds at times like Woods), the slashing opener, "Ten," and "C'est Si Bon." Valery steps aside on the session's lone ballad, "Joanna's Sweet Smile," as Zelnick offers a warmhearted narrative that would put a smile on anyone's face. The rhythm section, all of whose members were new to me, does a commendable job in its back-up role. Rosenthal, an appealing soloist with a prodigious right hand, is an ever-alert and responsive accompanist as well. The titular "Blues" swings handsomely, as do Zelnick's other compositions, "Let Me Ask You This" and "When Then Was Now." An exemplary debut that sails buoyantly through the middle of Jazz's post-bop mainstream.


Track Listing:

Ten; Let Me Ask You This; C'est Si Bon; Joanna's Sweet Smile; A Little More Than the Blues; When Then Was Now; There, There! (53:25).

Personnel:

Jeff Zelnick, alto saxophone; Valery Ponomarev, trumpet; Alan Rosenthal, piano; Steve Doyle, bass; Eric Halvorson, drums.

| Record Label: J.A.Z. Session | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Goodbye Red Rose (2008/9)" CD/LP/Track Review Goodbye Red Rose (2008/9)
by John Eyles
Published: October 16, 2016
Read "Sanctuary" CD/LP/Track Review Sanctuary
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 22, 2016
Read "Second Stream" CD/LP/Track Review Second Stream
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 26, 2017
Read "El Barranco" CD/LP/Track Review El Barranco
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 11, 2016
Read "Sedimental You" CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "Wise After The Event - Deluxe Edition" CD/LP/Track Review Wise After The Event - Deluxe Edition
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 23, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!