Free music that casts a spell on you comes with a price. You are entitled to dream, imagine something different with every listen. Beauty takes many forms and everyone has their opinion. Alto saxophonist Gary Joseph Hassay, pianist Dan DeChellis and percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani show you their own ideas about beauty on this recent album.
The trio's music remains dark and dreamy throughout this session. Alto saxophone flirts with melody on occasion, but changes direction so abruptly and so often that nothing lingers long enough to be called a theme. The piano pounds majestically and creates the harmony, evoking impressions that roll comfortably over imaginary hillsides and through dangerous ravines. Beauty is there; however, things aren't as safe as they may seem. Stark danger lies just ahead. When you think the trio is going to move up, they move down; when you think they're slowing down for a respite, the action picks up again. Nakatani colors with variety while the others move seamlessly through an intricate landscape.
Resembling a didgeridoo, the chanting on "What We All See" looms deep and downcast. When a man's voice plays with one's imagination like that, sparks begin to fly. "Roscoe Revisited," the most animated piece on the program, allows for alto skronking and plenty of fresh passion. It's as if a storm has suddenly appeared to interrupt an otherwise clear day in the country. Hassay, DeChellis and Nakatani enjoy variety on their journey through Nature's preserve.
Track Listing: Carson's Dream; Five Roses; What We All See; Letters From Bethlehem; Roscoe Revisited; Sugar Hill and Back; On the Wall.
Personnel: Gary Hassay: alto saxophone; Dan DeChellis: piano; Tatsuya Nakatani: percussion.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.