Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

6

Sam Taylor: Along The Way

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
On almost half of the nine tracks on Along the Way, tenor saxophonist Sam Taylor's close-knit quartet is actually a quintet thanks to the emphatic presence of the renowned Philadelphia-based tenor, Larry McKenna. Taylor's impressive visitor, two months shy of his eightieth birthday when the album was recorded in May 2017, keeps on playing with the sort of enthusiasm and awareness usually ascribed to musicians many years his junior—as, for example, Taylor, for whom McKenna has been an exemplar and inspiration.

While Taylor is admirable on his own, listening to him trade assertive volleys with McKenna is even more awesome and pleasurable. Tonally and conceptually, the duo is a touch closer to Al Cohn and Zoot Sims than, say, Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt or Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray, even though the debt to those legendary duos and their singular era is discernible from time to time (and the album closes with Gordon's high-stepping composition, "I Want More"). As the solo order isn't given, it should be noted that Taylor has a heavier and darker tone, but not by much, while McKenna is more lambent and burnished, but not by much. Listeners may have to sort those things out for themselves.

For the record, Taylor and McKenna blow as a tandem on Betty Comden / Adolph Green's oft-heard "Make Someone Happy," Fats Navarro's impetuous "Fats Flats," the standard "There's No You" and "I Want More." McKenna is showcased on his even-tempered original, "The Close Things," while Taylor has center stage to himself on Ferde Grofe's loping "On the Trail" (from the Grand Canyon Suite), an exuberant reading of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "People Will Say We're in Love," the melodic "Wild Is Love" and Jimmy McHugh / Harold Adamson's paean to yearning, "Where Are You."

Taylor and McKenna are so engaging, individually and collectively, that it's easy to overlook the sizable contributions made by their talented teammates, pianist Jeb Patton (a persuasive soloist in his own right), bassist Neal Miner and drummer Peter Van Nostrand. Along the Way would be far less enticing without them, as it no doubt would be without McKenna, a generous guest who repays Taylor many times over for the invitation.

Track Listing: Make Someone Happy; Fats Flats; On the Trail; Where Are You; People Will Say We're in Love; The Close Things; There's No You; Wild Is Love; I Want More;

Personnel: Sam Taylor, tenor saxophone; Larry McKenna, tenor saxophone; Jeb Patton, piano; Neal Miner, bass; Pete Van Nostrand, drums

Title: Along The Way | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Cellar Live


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Bricks CD/LP/Track Review Bricks
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 17, 2017
Read Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Song of No Regrets CD/LP/Track Review Song of No Regrets
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Sounding Tears CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by John Sharpe
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Kill The Boy CD/LP/Track Review Kill The Boy
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 16, 2017
Read "66 67" CD/LP/Track Review 66 67
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 9, 2017
Read "Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read "Rev" CD/LP/Track Review Rev
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "History Of The Lisbon Chaplaincy" CD/LP/Track Review History Of The Lisbon Chaplaincy
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 13, 2017
Read "We Live Here" CD/LP/Track Review We Live Here
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2017
Read "I Speilvendthet" CD/LP/Track Review I Speilvendthet
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 9, 2017

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!