The Benny Sharoni at work on Eternal Elixir shares two sides of his emerging voice and therefore a true personality that is developing deep within the soul of the tenor saxophonist. One side of the artist is a brash young man, who favors the language of modal music. And he makes good this aspect of the artist by kicking off the proceedings on "Bernstein," his reverential sketch of the legendary American musician and conductor of various equally legendary orchestras of the middle and late 20th Century. The rapid fire changes of Donald Byrd's "French Spice" give further notice of Sharoni's intentions. In fact, here the saxophonist conjures up the restless spirit of John Coltrane, and even bewitches pianist Joe Barbato into recalling the presence of McCoy Tyner.
Then, on "Sunny," he resurrects the other persona, that one which makes distinct reference to the cool pronouncements of men like Big Ben Webster and especially Lester Young. In fact, so strong a change to this side of his persona takes place that the music appears to come from another album. This is not meant to suggest that something is amiss here. The observation suggests that Sharoni is an emerging voice, whose shifts and changes speak to that aspect of artistry that aches to define itself. And it is an amazing thing to be witness to this metamorphosis on a single album.
As a tenorist, Sharoni strives to let his muscular attack meld with a softer intonation. His vocabulary is vast and he can make a myriad of metaphors sit cheek by jowl in a long and flowing line. Sometimes Sharoni is apt to prolong these lines so that they meander gracefully like rivulets rushing in apparently different directions, but all eventually meeting at a preordained spot. His ideas are exciting and always eagerly awaited. And when he makes statements, they are always exquisitely enunciated and lucid. His solos on "Benito's Bossa Bonita" and on "Cakes" show just how creative Sharoni can be.
It is only a matter of time before Sharoni emerges with a voice that his quite his own, demanding to be heard on common ground with other practicing giants of an instrument that he has chosen to make his own.
Track Listing: Bernstein; French Spice; Estate; Sunny; Pentecostal Feelin'; Benito's Bossa Bonita; To Life; Cakes; The Think To Do; Señor Papaya.
Personnel: Benny Sharoni: tenor saxophone; Barry Ries: trumpet; Joe Barbato: piano; Kyle Aho: piano; Mike Mele: guitar; Todd Baker: bass; Steve Longone: drums.
I love jazz because it swings.
I was first exposed to jazz in Houston.
I met Joe LoCascio and Bob Henschen.
The best show I ever attended was Pat Martino.
The first jazz record I bought was Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
My advice to new listeners is to relax on 2 and 4 beats.