Alto saxophonist Jim Snidero had quite a year in 2021, with the re-release of his masterpiece, Strings (Savant), originally released in 2001, and the release of another masterful set, Live At Deer Head Inn (Savant). In 2022 he decided to keep a good thing going, inviting his Deer Head rhythm sectionpianist Orrin Evans, bassist Peter Washington, with John Farnsworth back in the drummer's seat into the studio, along with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, for an inspired set of bop and post-bop tunes, mostly from Snidero's pen, plus a couple of time-tested standards in the mix.
Snidero's fresh material was shaped with Rosenwinkel in mind. This added another layer to Snidero's concepts. After a thirty-five-year career, Snidero seems to have slipped into a "can do no wrong" mode. The choice of bringing in the versatile guitarist, who always lifts the music up in his sideman gigs, pays off here. The sound is denser than his quartet music. It comes out of the tradition with risks taken, serving up and presenting a surprise a minute.
The title tune opens the set. Rosenwinkel is on fire with his solo, as is Snidero, who crafts his improvisation as an alto sax master class. "Infinity" moves into a laid-back, searching sound. The music floats on a cloud. Rosenwinkel gives the tune a glowing orchestral backdrop. Snidero looks up to heaven.
The first of two covers, "It Might As Well Be Spring," opens with the guitarist's gentle rumination on the melody's theme, leading into the leader's beautifully reverent take on the tune.
Far Far Away is a gorgeous, perfectly-crafted take on mainstream jazz in the 21st century, a worthy follow-up to Snidero's hugely-successful 2021 offerings, as he keeps the creative juices flowing.
Far Far Away; Infinity; It Might As Well Be Spring; Nowhere To Hide; Obsession; Pat; Search For
Peace; Little Falls.
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