Saxophonist Dan Wilenskywho has played with everyone from Ray Charles to David Bowie to Jack McDuff offered up his take on some familiar pop tunes (The Beatles, The Youngbloods), a touch of George Gershwin and some Sammy Cahn on his 2018 offering, Good Music (Polyglot Music). Now it is (mostly) all Wilensky originals, the result of a busy composing period that spanned the last two weeks of December 2019 the first week of January 2020, in which the saxophonist penned twenty new compositions. Twelve of these tunes, favorites culled from the three week writing binge, appear on All In All, in addition to the show-stopping closer, gospel singer/songwriter Andrae Crouch's "Soon And Very Soon."
The set opens with "United We Stand," Wilesky blowing for the rafters on what sounds like an intro to a free jazz rant, that segues into the coolest of soul jazz groovesit sounds like Wilson Pickett is standing in the wings, waiting to make his appearancelaid down by the leader and his top notch rhythm section: keyboardist Clay Giberson, bassist Bill Athens and drummer Micah Hummel. The soul groove theme settles in with a gorgeous ballad, "Christmas In Argentina," that has a smooth, lustrous flow. Pianist Giberson takes a supremely assured solo, then adds a light synthesizer frosting on the cake leading into Wilensky's powerful lead. It is a meticulously-crafted sound that brings to mind some of the CTI Recordings of the 1970sStanley Turrentine's Baddest Turrentine (1974) in particular.
"Seven Bees" shifts the sound into a higher, going for the groove and and finding it with a Michael Brecker/Lou Donaldson feeling, with a Miles Davis, Filles De Kilimanjaro (Columbia, 1969) vibe from Giberson's lively Fender Rhodes. "Haleakala" features Wilensky searing the air inside a deftly-shaped rhythmic drive, while "Democracy On the Rocks" explores the classic organ jazz sound, Giberson rocking it on the Hammond B-3.
And that gospel closerit can pull you up out of the pew, to dance like the spirit is in you, and it's got to come out.
United We Stand; Christmas In Argentina; Seven Bees; Haleakala; Antonio; Another Summer; O Amor Se Foi;
Democracy On The Rocks; Dig The Gist; Celestial Rendezvous; Soliloquy; While She Waits; Soon And Very