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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 was first exposed to jazz while learning to play chess with my uncles. They would play smooth jazz, and then switch up to more standard types of jazz. But, when they played Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, I was
hooked and I haven't looked back.