All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

395

Hailey Niswanger: Confeddie

Joshua Weiner By

Sign in to view read count
To look at Confeddie, the new self-produced record by Hailey Niswanger with an artfully posed black-and-white photo of the doe-eyed, comely saxophonist on the cover, the thought that may come to mind is "Great, another Candy Dulfer." Never judge a CD by its cover, to paraphrase some wise man (or, more likely, wise woman) lost to the mists of time. Barely 20 years old and currently attending the Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship, Niswanger and fellow students Michael Palma on piano, Greg Chaplin on bass, and Mark Whitfield Jr. on drums bring the goods on a program refreshingly free of the typical chestnuts and brimming with melodic invention, courtesy of the lass with the horn.

Niswanger pulls no punches, boldly starting things off with Thelonious Monk's "Four in One," a tricky tune that has tied the tongue of many a player. Not this altoist, however: the unison statements with Palma, who is excellent throughout, are perfect, and give way to an extensive solo that constantly touches back on the theme as it coils around it in a hundred variations. If Palma's solo were not hampered by Whitfield's overly fidgety drum work (what is this with young drummers these days doing the stop-and-start thing? It's rapidly becoming a nervous tic that spoils the swing), the take would be flawless.

A gorgeous essay of Herbie Hancock's "Oliloqui Valley" follows. Palma has room to stretch out, following which Niswanger unfurls a solo that exemplifies her gifts: a lovely tone, full and sharp but never shrill, absolute poise and a remarkable ability to spin out flowing melodic lines.

The title track is a Niswanger original, a blues written in the style of Eddie Harris (hence the name, a mash-up of "Eddie" and "confetti"), and it is truly unbelievable. If anything, it recalls John Coltrane as much as the electric Eddie himself, conjuring up the magic of the master's Atlantic period. Whitfield redeems himself here with some snappy solo breaks. Tunes by greats Kenny Dorham, Benny Golson, Wayne Shorter and Joe Henderson round out the sparkling set. The latter tune, "Serenity," contains an especially fine and swinging solo from the leader, but all are handled with aplomb, and recorded in wonderful sound by engineer Peter Kontrimas, who deserves a mention here.

It isn't every young student player who gets an approving profile in The Wall Street Journal by the sage Nat Hentoff, and it isn't every day that a record as joyful as Confeddie shows up.

Track Listing: Four in One; Oliloqui Valley; Confeddie; La Mesha; Sometime Ago; Serenity; Stablemates; Yes or No.

Personnel: Hailey Niswanger: alto saxophone; Michael Palma: piano; Greg Chaplin: bass; Mark Whitfield Jr.: drums.

Title: Confeddie | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
PDX Soul

PDX Soul

Self Produced
2015

buy
Confeddie

Confeddie

Self Produced
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read My Singing Fingers CD/LP/Track Review
My Singing Fingers
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 25, 2018
Read Ain't It Grand? CD/LP/Track Review
Ain't It Grand?
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 25, 2018
Read If Not Now, When? CD/LP/Track Review
If Not Now, When?
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 25, 2018
Read Perfectly Unhappy CD/LP/Track Review
Perfectly Unhappy
by Gareth Thompson
Published: May 25, 2018
Read Sorrows & Triumphs CD/LP/Track Review
Sorrows & Triumphs
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 25, 2018
Read Half Light CD/LP/Track Review
Half Light
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 24, 2018
Read "Codex" CD/LP/Track Review Codex
by Doug Collette
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "Sticks and Stones" CD/LP/Track Review Sticks and Stones
by John Kelman
Published: February 3, 2018
Read "A Woman's Journey" CD/LP/Track Review A Woman's Journey
by Jerome Wilson
Published: January 28, 2018
Read "Autumn Wind" CD/LP/Track Review Autumn Wind
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 3, 2017
Read "A Year Ago Today" CD/LP/Track Review A Year Ago Today
by Doug Collette
Published: March 18, 2018
Read "With You In Mind" CD/LP/Track Review With You In Mind
by Doug Collette
Published: July 26, 2017