Chances are good that pretty much everybody in the US has heard Doug Webb
's music. He's performed for numerous television programs, including Law and Order
, Family Guy
and The Simpsons
, where he played Lisa Simpson's saxophone parts. He's also been featured on several movie soundtracks and recorded with artists in practically every genre of music, including jazz greats such as Horace Silver
, Freddie Hubbard
and Stanley Clarke
to name a few.
Webb has also established a formidable collection of work as a bandleader. Apples & Oranges
, his tenth album for Posi-Tone, is an excellent addition to his catalog. The album includes a collection of mostly original compositions combined with a few covers, featuring Webb on tenor and soprano saxophone, Brian Charette
on organ and Andy Sanesi
playing drums. There are plenty of serious grooves coming from this tight-knit trio.
The selections on Apples & Oranges
cover a variety of jazz styles ranging from blues to bop to ballads. Webb includes a quote from John Coltrane
in the liner notes, which captures the eclectic nature of the album. Coltrane describes how a musician's main interest is to "give a picture to the listener of the many wonderful things he knows of and senses in the universe." With this album, the trio effectively blends the various styles into a cohesive unit. Most of the album features Webb's original compositions, which showcase his skill as a composer. Several tracks have a definite bebop influence. The title track and "For Steve" both offer hard-driving melodies with a strong bop influence.
There's also a definite blues element at work here. The opening track, "Alexico," for example, presents a solid jazz blues groove that's reminiscent of some of classic recordings from artists like Lou Donaldson
or Hank Mobley
. Webb's organ trio is the perfect vehicle for creating this type of blues feel.
It is evident, however, that one of Webb's main influences is John Coltrane. Songs such as "Forethought" and "Monkey Face" appear somewhat inspired by different aspects of Coltrane's music. "Monkey Face" includes harmonic modulation featured in many of Coltrane's recordings. "Forethought," on the other hand, provides a rather more free jazz approach, similar to the sound of "Sun Ship."
Along with the originals, Apples & Oranges
includes some excellent cover versions. Webb's treatment of the Bruno Martino's 1960 composition "Estaté" adds an excellent bossa nova touch. The album also features memorable versions of Richard Rogers' "Spring is Here" and Duke Ellington
's "In a Sentimental Mood." Perhaps the standout cover, however, is the version of The Young Rascals' 1967 hit, "How Can I Be Sure."Apples & Oranges
offers a variety of styles that blend together effectively. The old saying about comparing apples to oranges focuses on the idea that their differences keep them apart. Webb, however, shows how different styles can blend together effectively. Maybe there's something we could all learn from that.
Alexico; Monkey Face; Forethought; In A Sentimental Mood; How Can I Be Sure; Coruba; Spring Is Here; Apples & Oranges; Estaté; For Steve