Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

3

Walt Weiskopf: Fountain Of Youth

David A. Orthmann By

Sign in to view read count
Fountain Of Youth is the latest installment of Walt Weiskopf's mid-career renaissance. In reviews of Weiskopf's three previous Posi-Tone releases, I made the misstep of treating his imposing skills as a tenor saxophonist, composer, arranger, and bandleader as separate, albeit compatible entities; this time around I realized that they are indeed parts of a larger, all-encompassing vision that winds through the disc's eleven tracks.

Whereas Overdrive, Open Road, and The Way You Say It are—with few exceptions—driven by Weiskopf's compositions, there's a sufficient amount of non-original material in Fountain to make a case for his transformative powers in regard to the Great American Songbook, and the capacity to shape them and his own works into a cohesive program.

"Close Enough For Love," "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?," "Laura," "Young And Foolish" (as well as vibraphonist Behn Gillece's "Double Date") are handled with care while recast as Weiskopf vehicles; in the end, it's a tribute to his interpretative acumen to say that they don't stand in stark contrast to his six originals. A varied and sturdy lot, Weiskopf's compositions aren't knockoffs of classic jazz tunes. A couple of favorites are the brusque, no nonsense "Hot Dog Days," and the carnival-like, mercurial "Heads In The Clouds." Moreover, the relative brevity of the tracks—only one is over seven minutes and most are considerably shorter—further encourage the perception of the record as a unified endeavor.

Weiskopf's tenor is perhaps foremost of Fountain's overlapping virtues. One of the impressive things about his instrumental prowess is the capacity to sound emotionally convincing in vastly different contexts. A fierce, gripping, blues drenched disposition—which contains an element of calculation in keeping with the precision in which he articulates each note—characterizes "Backstage Blues," "Loose Lips," and "Hot Dog Days." In short, he often sounds positively invincible. Conversely, Weiskopf's ballad playing isn't merely pretty; in particular, the heads of "How Are Things In Glocca Morra," "Young and Foolish" and his "Echoes Of The Quiet Past" express a palpable sense of vulnerability. The monster tenor sax is briefly transformed into something smaller, almost frail, and recognizably human.

It's apparent throughout that Weiskopf is writing and arranging for people who challenge, stimulate, and inspire him. Shout choruses and written figures behind the soloists invariably prove out in relation to each composition. Weiskopf utilizes these devices just enough to keep things sounding fresh and avoids the all-too-common, seemingly endless cycle of head/solos/head. Gillece, pianist Peter Zak, bassist Mike Karn, and drummer Steve Fidyk, all of whom have performed on at least one of his previous Posi-Tone releases, relish the challenges of Weiskopf's arrangements and acquit themselves admirably when its their turn to solo. In particular, when Zak follows Weiskopf, it feels like a sudden change in the weather, without any break in momentum. Karn merits special mention for playing some of the fiercest, most propulsive bass lines in recent memory.

Guided by Weiskopf's firm hand, Fountain Of Youth is a tightly wrapped package, filled with ingenious designs and spirited, articulate performances. Highly recommended.


Track Listing: Backstage Blues; Close Enough For Love; Petal; How Are Things In Glocca Morra?; Loose Lips; Echoes Of The Quiet Past; Laura; Young And Foolish; Hot Dog Days; Heads In The Clouds; Double Date.

Personnel: Walt Weiskopf: sax; Behn Gillece: vibes; Peter Zak: piano; Mike Karn: bass; Steve Fidyk: drums.

Title: Fountain Of Youth | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

In Pictures
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Fountain Of Youth

Fountain Of Youth

Posi-Tone Records
2017

buy
The Way You Say It

The Way You Say It

Posi-Tone Records
2016

buy
Open Road

Open Road

Posi-Tone Records
2015

buy
Overdrive

Overdrive

Posi-Tone Records
2014

buy

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read New American Songbooks, Volume 2 Album Reviews
New American Songbooks, Volume 2
By Karl Ackermann
February 19, 2019
Read Live At JazzCase Album Reviews
Live At JazzCase
By Troy Dostert
February 19, 2019
Read Eastern Sonata Album Reviews
Eastern Sonata
By James Fleming
February 19, 2019
Read Cannonball Album Reviews
Cannonball
By Rob Rosenblum
February 19, 2019
Read Child Of Illusion Album Reviews
Child Of Illusion
By Don Phipps
February 19, 2019
Read Infection In The Sentence Album Reviews
Infection In The Sentence
By Chris May
February 18, 2019
Read Real Isn't Real Album Reviews
Real Isn't Real
By Phil Barnes
February 18, 2019