2

Sam Braysher: Golden Earrings

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Sam Braysher: Golden Earrings
Mostly these days aspiring jazz musicians hear the songs of the American Songbook as "jazz standards," their melodies taken as jumping-off points for improvisational flights of fancy that move the tunes far beyond their earlier incarnations as pop tunes or Broadway showstoppers. It's a distinction that the young English altoist Sam Braysher makes in the liner notes to his debut album Golden Earrings, recorded in collaboration with pianist Michael Kanan. The duo also took note of it when preparing to record this album, going back to the original recordings, learning the original lyrics and consulting the sheet music for the compositions to be found here.

Braysher and Kanan's approach results in a fresh approach to some old favourites and a welcome revisiting of some lesser-known pieces from composers such as Tadd Dameron, Duke Ellington and Jerome Kern. The tunes are stripped back to their essentials, melodies and counter-melodies are played sensitively—swinging, but unshowy.

The best-known tunes are Dietz and Schwartz's "Dancing In The Dark" and the Irving Berlin medley of "What'll I Do," "Always" and "Remember." On the Dietz and Schwartz number Kanan plays the melody while Braysher adds a counter melody based on the orchestral arrangement from the 1953 movie The Band Wagon. Kanan plays "Always" solo—a restrained and affecting performance.

Charlie Parker's "Cardboard" offers another example of the duo's unison playing and lightness of touch. Braysher's "BSP" (a contrafact based on the chords of "Love For Sale") is the album's only original composition, a complex, medium tempo, tune inspired by his interest in Lennie Tristano, Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh. "Way Down Yonder In New Orleans," that staple of trad and Dixieland bands, provides the album with a jaunty closing track: Kanan and Braysher end it with a unison performance of Lester Young's solo from the 1938 Kansas City Six recording. It's a suitable finale to a lovely album.

Track Listing

Dancing In The Dark; Cardboard; Irving Berlin Waltz Medley - What'll I Do, Always, Remember; BSP; All Too Soon; In Love In Vain; The Scene Is Clean; Beautiful Moons Ago; Golden Earrings; Way Down Yonder In New Orleans.

Personnel

Sam Braysher: alto saxophone; Michael Kanan: piano.

Album information

Title: Golden Earrings | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read A Walk in the Park
A Walk in the Park
Jerry Cook Quartet +
Read New Aurora
New Aurora
Michael Sarian
Read Unnavigable Tributaries
Unnavigable Tributaries
Vicente / Brice / Sanders
Read How To turn the Moon
How To turn the Moon
Angelica Sanchez & Marilyn Crispell
Read The Path
The Path
Chien Chien Lu
Read Golden Daffodil
Golden Daffodil
Leslie Beukelman
Read Message from Groove and GW
Message from Groove and GW
The Radam Schwartz Organ Big Band
Read Duos & Trios
Duos & Trios
Armaroli - Schiaffini - Sjostrom

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.