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There's nothing wrong with a little old school. Saxophonist Dave Glasser keeps it simpleno flash, no gimmicks. Glasser has spent many years as a sideman, performing with artists including the Clark Terry Quintet, the Count Basie Orchestra, Illinois Jacquet and the Dizzy Gillespie All Stars. He has also recorded several CDs as a leader. A native of New York City, Glasser is a master saxophonist, having studied under Lee Konitz, Frank Perowsky and Barry Harris.
Drawing on his admiration for Thelonious Monk, Glasser opens Evolution with the swinging "Monkish." With an easygoing groove from pianist John Nyerges, bassist Jeff Campbell and drummer Rich Thompson, the altoist serves up a charming lead. Nyerges solos over some cool bass and slick drum work, and Campbell also solos. Another original is "Minor Madness," where Glasser demonstrates a David Sanborn-esque grind during certain phrases, despite the overall style being more evocative of Kenny Garrett. Nyerges' "Monk's Blues" is highlighted by a tranquil, stair-step melody that's both charming and elegant. During the middle solo, Glasser puts the alto through some highs and lows, but never abandons the song's soft mood.
Four of the eight tracks on Evolution were written by Glasser, while Nyerges and Thompson contribute one each. As a whole, the album serves as both a tribute to Monk and a lesson in originality. The musicians play well off one another, with all expressing freely, regardless of which instrument is out front. Campbell and Thompson don't step out much, but they achieve plenty behind Glasser and Nyerges.
Monkish; Minor Madness; Tranquility; Monk's Blues; It Could Happen to You; Les Is More;
Rhythm-a-ning; Blue Iridescence.
Dave Glasser: alto saxophone; John Nyerges: piano; Jeff Campbell: bass; Rich Thompson: