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The release of two simultaneous albums (Bounce and In the Pocket) gives a rare opportunity to hear this saxophonist/trumpeter and composer in different settings, both showcasing his ability to straight-ahead bebop performances. On half of the tracks on Bounce, Donahue leads a quintet, and on the other half he leads a quartet plus three additional musicians. The well-equipped quartet consists of pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist John Lockwood and drummer Adam Nussbaum. The other cast features Calderazzo, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Jim Lattini with guitarist Norm Zocher on four tracks, percussionist Pedro Ito on three selections and altoist Ernie Sola on one track.
Miles Donahue can play effective bebop on saxophone as well as trumpet and flugelhorn, something he he shares with such musicians as Ira Sullivan, Benny Carter, Australia's Jim Morrison and Seattle-based Jay Thomas.
Bounce kicks off with the lively title tune, showcasing Donahue's ability to write worthy bop material. On tenor sax, he takes a sure-footed solo before turning things over to guitarist Norm Zocher and pianist Joey Calderazzo for more effective statements. On "Uppy," with the same group, Zocher provides a longer guitar solo and Calderazzo follows with a beauty. Another original, "Alone By Myself," is based on the changes of "Alone Together" and sounds more fragmented than the others.
For ballads, Donahue chooses the Carpenters-associated "Close to You" and the Lerner and Loewe showtune "On The Street Where You Live." These pieces, recorded with both groups, give Donahue a chance to show how well he can play ballads. We only get to hear Donahue on flugelhorn on the original "Stabilize," based upon Benny Golson's "Stablemates."
Of the two Donahue album entries, I would opt for this one!
Track Listing: Bounce, Uppy, Alone By Myself, Close to You, Rhap, Watch Were You're Going, On The Street Where You Live, Stabilize, Ditchdigger, Beautiful Dove.
Personnel: Miles Donalhue, saxophone, flugelhorn; Joey Calderazzo, piano; John Lockwood, bass; Adam
Nussbaum, drums (3-5,8,10). Miles Donahue, saxophones; Joey Calderazzo, piano; John
Patitucci, basses; Jim Lattini, drums; Norm Zocher, guitar; Petro Ito, percussion; Ernie Sola,
bass clarinet, alto sax (1,2,6,7,9).
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.