104

Dan Wilensky: Back In The Mix

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Dan Wilensky: Back In The Mix Thirteen years separated the release of tenor saxophonist Dan Wilensky's first two albums— And Then Some (Speechless, 1997) and If You Only Knew (Speechless, 2010)—but the saxophonist wasn't sitting around idly during that stretch of time. Wilensky's work as a session player, touring musician, author, and educator kept him beyond busy, yet his own music suffered as a result. Thankfully, the saxophonist has been focusing his efforts on being a leader since 2009, and the resultant albums released since that time have been consistently engaging. He started the ball rolling with If You Only Knew and followed it up with the wide-ranging, humor-laced Group Therapy (Speechless, 2011). Now, less than a year after his previous release, Wilensky returns with the appropriately titled Back In The Mix.

Wilensky's balance of originals to covers, and his use of the same rhythm team from Group Therapy, may lead some to believe that this is more of the same, but that couldn't be further from the truth. The decision to switch from a guitar-supported format to a piano-based quartet, with pianist Mark Soskin—of Sonny Rollins sideman fame—manning the keys, completely changes the character of the music. Add to that, the presence of trumpeter Russ Johnson on four tracks, and a more measured approach to the music, and you have a completely different—but no less impressive—package.

The album opens with the bristling title track, which showcases Wilensky, Johnson and Soskin as soloists, while drummer Tony Moreno's drumming and four-on-the-floor hi-hat—à la Tony Williams—spurs them on from below, but the leader quickly turns his attention elsewhere. "Hand In Hand" marries a Herbie Hancock-like vibe and cool, breezy melody with an easygoing groove, "Just Happy" sizzles with a pseudo-samba foundation, while "Falling In Love With Love" finds the group in fine, swinging form. In other places, as on J.J. Johnson's "Lament," the oft-covered "Tenderly" and the soulful "After All Is Said And Done," Wilensky opens up and allows everybody to see the sensitive side of his artistry, which adds another dimension to the music.

Viewed on its own merits Back In The Mix is a strong album from a true original but, in a broader sense, it proves to be the final piece of the aural triptych that marks the triumphant return of Dan Wilensky.

Track Listing: Back In The Mix; Hand In Hand; Tenderly; Here; Just Happy; Lament; Falling In Love With Love; Kenai; After All Is Said And Done.

Personnel: Dan Wilensky: tenor saxophone; Mark Soskin: piano; Dean Johnson: bass; Tony Moreno: drums; Russ Johnson: trumpet (1, 2, 4, 7).

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Self Produced


Shop

More Articles

Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Soul Garden CD/LP/Track Review Soul Garden
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Authorized Bang Collection CD/LP/Track Review The Authorized Bang Collection
by Doug Collette
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by John Sharpe
Published: November 11, 2016
Read "Noumenon" CD/LP/Track Review Noumenon
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Young" CD/LP/Track Review Young
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 4, 2016
Read "Alpha Nebula Expanded: The Monster Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Alpha Nebula Expanded: The Monster Peace
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 17, 2016
Read "The Eighth Hour Of Amduat" CD/LP/Track Review The Eighth Hour Of Amduat
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 9, 2017
Read "La Chanson Francaise" CD/LP/Track Review La Chanson Francaise
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 12, 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!