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There's always room on the jazz scene for young talent, even in the tried and true saxophone-plus-rhythm-section format. Tenor saxophonist Mike Tucker received a full scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in 2002; he was also chosen to compete in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition the same year. After three years-plus of formal education and more than a decade of professional workincluding a Gary Burton/Pat Metheny recording projectTucker has released his debut CD as a leader, Collage.
The recording opens with the Tucker-penned piece "Fanfare," the only quintet tune on the disc, featuring trumpeter Eric Bloom. Tucker and Bloom coax warm tones from their respective horns, and after some up-tempo unison work, Bloom takes a bright and buoyant solo, with the rhythm guys crackling behind him. Tucker doesn't step out until nearly three minutes in, but it's worth the wait. He blows with a full-bodied sound, creating a smooth and articulate flow of interesting ideas.
Collage is full of inspired blowing, and Tucker stands out as a songwriter. Nine of the ten tunes are Tucker originals, ranging from the funky "New Orleans" to the straight-ahead "Fanfare," the pretty ballad "Kathy" and the fusion-like "Space #1 & #2." The disc closes out with the ethereal and plaintive "Mbira." Mike Tucker's debut proves itself an exceptionally strong introduction to an upcoming young saxophonist/songwriter.
Track Listing: Fanfare, Kathy, The Hey Man Tenor Club, 70's, New orleans, Bird Lives, Double Mambo, Sapce
Suite: Space #1 & Space #2; Mbira.
Personnel: Mike Tucker: saxophone; Lee Fish: drums and percussion; Leo Genovese: piano, Fender
Rhodes, sythesizer; Hogyu Hwang: bass.
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.