All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

1

Steve Slagle: Evensong

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Saxophonist Steve Slagle is a consummate leader often pegged as a sideman; with a résumé that includes stints with big band legends like Woody Herman and Lionel Hampton, left-of-center trailblazers like pianist Carla Bley, Latin giants like Ray Barretto and modern day marvels like tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, it's easy to see why some people may look at him as a side dish, but outings under his own name mark him as main course material.

His outstanding '90s quartet dates—Reincarnation (Steeplechase, 1994) and Alto Blue (Steeplechase, 1997)—put him on the map as a notable leader on record, and he's been working the foursome format ever since, either under his own name or with guitarist Dave Stryker in the co-led Stryker Slagle Band; Evensong puts the saxophonist's name on top, but lives as a de facto Stryker/Slagle date, since both men contribute tunes and share the frontline. The presence of bassist Ed Howard, who appears on their Live At The Jazz Standard (Zoho, 2005), furthers this notion. The new guy at the party, drummer McClenty Hunter, fits in just fine with the other three previously connected parties, as he builds swing foundations, delivers firepower on "Shadowboxing" and sets up a slick groove behind Slagle's Eddie Harris-esque "Alive."

When viewed together, Slagle has often been tagged as the bop-to-beyond part of the team and Stryker the blues-and-soul side of the equation, but those labels don't do them justice; they certainly excel in those particular realms, but they both work far beyond those assigned borders. Slagle and Stryker share a near telepathic rapport and they've learned how best to complement one another in any setting over the years. Sometimes they simply sync up on a head and effortlessly fly through the song together, but that's not a given as, at other moments, Stryker comps along in supportive fashion while Slagle slyly sets things motion, or sits back and lets Stryker spread his wings.

Slagle dedicates a good number of these songs to friends and inspirations without aping those musicians' respective sounds and styles. The album opener name checks bassist Charles Mingus and gives a nod to the late Dennis Irwin, "Equal Nox" is connected to John Coltrane, having been written on the saxophonist's birthday, the absorbing "Quiet Folks" gives due respect to guitarist Jim Hall, and "The Star-Crossed Lovers" is an obvious, album-ending tribute to the song's composers—the great Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.

Slagle's horn(s) may continue to serve as musical enhancement on other people's projects, but he's an artist who deserves attention as an out-front entity and each one of his albums continue to prove that point.

Track Listing: Mingus In Us; Blues Four; Supermoon; Quiet Folks; Shadowboxing; Alive; Equal Nox; B Like Me; The Star-Crossed Lovers.

Personnel: Steve Slagle: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Dave Stryker: guitar; Ed Howard: bass; McClenty Hunter: drums.

Title: Evensong | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Panorama Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Holiday

Holiday

Steve Slagle
Alto Manhattan

CD/LP/Track Review
Book Reviews
Read more articles
Dedication

Dedication

Panorama Records
2017

buy
Alto Manhattan

Alto Manhattan

Panorama Records
2016

buy
The Power Of Two

The Power Of Two

Panorama Records
2015

buy
Evensong

Evensong

Panorama Records
2013

buy

Related Articles

Read Live! CD/LP/Track Review
Live!
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: July 19, 2018
Read My Favorite Things(1960-1969) CD/LP/Track Review
My Favorite Things(1960-1969)
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 19, 2018
Read The Acadian Orogeny CD/LP/Track Review
The Acadian Orogeny
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 19, 2018
Read Drift CD/LP/Track Review
Drift
by Paul Rauch
Published: July 18, 2018
Read Journey Moments CD/LP/Track Review
Journey Moments
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: July 18, 2018
Read Moku Maluhia - Peaceful Island CD/LP/Track Review
Moku Maluhia - Peaceful Island
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 18, 2018
Read "Birdsongs" CD/LP/Track Review Birdsongs
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 9, 2018
Read "Songs of Experience" CD/LP/Track Review Songs of Experience
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 1, 2017
Read "Jazz for All (Jazz Forró)" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz for All (Jazz Forró)
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: May 15, 2018
Read "Anniversary Package; Lab 2017" CD/LP/Track Review Anniversary Package; Lab 2017
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 24, 2017
Read "Sermon Organ Combo" CD/LP/Track Review Sermon Organ Combo
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 29, 2017
Read "Picking Up Steam" CD/LP/Track Review Picking Up Steam
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: May 12, 2018