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From its reverent yet fun-loving title cut, Grace (for Will) is a delight. Trombonist Deborah Weisz has assembled a wonderfully eclectic, intermeshing group of musicians to interpret newly composed music motivated by significant events and people in her life. Along with her communicative t-bone, two of New York City's most expressive and versatile musicians, guitarist Sheryl Bailey and bassist Nicki Parrott, aid in delivering a varied program of creative music that swings, bops, and stretches boundaries in intriguing ways.
Front and center with Weisz is the equally telling tenor of Andrew Sterman. He aptly summons the spirituality of Trane to begin "Grace, a piece inspired by the tragic death of the trombonist's brother. Sterman then changes moods as Parrot's pumping bass bops through a jumping middle before Bailey's striking guitar communes with Mahavishnu to take things in a different direction. Guest Olivier Ker Ourio is featured on multiple tunes, and his chromatic harmonica adds a unique sound to the quintet.
Weisz is able to use her instrument to its full capability and blends excedingly well with Sterman on cuts like "Zoneing, an up-tempo tribute to Boston tenor great George Garzone. The journey from Norway to America through Ellis Island taken by Weisz's grandfather is portrayed as a mysterious adventure of discovery courtesy of a heartfelt bass solo by Parrott and delicate harmonica and guitar phrasing. "New Light becomes a vehicle for Weisz to showcase her expert wah-wah technique while t-bone mouthpiecing begins the quirky "Dr. Ken that quickly turns into a hot bopper. Drummer Eric Halvorson is able to hold this varied group together through crisp rhythms that are never boring nor stifling and allow the musicians to chart new directions.
Contributions from other band members include Bailey's super swinging "Underdog's Anonymous, featuring her unmistakably rich tone; Sterman's bluesy paean to Picasso's residence, "Pablo's Crib ; and the beautifully melodic Ourio tune "Bellydancing that has Sterman doubling on flute.
I love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock
I love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock. It was love at first sight . This was when Blues, Soul / Gospel Style Music was becoming popular amongst kids as well as hip adults and featured Ray Charles, Big Joe Turner and The Payola era DJ's such as Alan Freed. Not many people remember that Freed's Rock n Roll Band of the 1950's was The Count Basie Orchestra featuring the Guy Singer Tony Bennett (Anthony DiBenedetto) who grew up in Astoria, NYNY right next to my Home Town Jackson Heights NYNY.
I was first exposed to jazz when I heard Red Prysock, Sam The Man Taylor & groups like the Chord Cats recording of Shaboom! It made the Crew Cuts look LAME! Now Jazz, Blues, Soul, Gospel was pretty much joined at the hip back then and I learned that the tasteful Music was featured on The African American Radio Stations which led me to DJ's Like The Bruce, Jocko Henderson, Tommy Dr. Jive Smalls and eventually Symphony Sid Torin, China Valles and Len Pace. This all took place during my high school years and the following years in NYNY and South Florida. I actually flew to Copenhagen Denmark in 1961 to see Stan Getz, (One of my top 3 heroes in the Music Bird, Pres & Getz not necessarily in that order). Sadly Getz had already left town and snuck back into NYNY where he played Birdland (Undoubtedly without a cabaret card due to smack addiction.) No problem for me as I worked for Pan American Airways at the time and enjoyed a 90% Employee Discount.
I met Thelonious Monk, Stan Kenton, Warne Marsh, Lenny Tristano, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Frank Foster, Dr. Lonnie Smith, among many others over the years.
The best show I ever attended was The Randall's Island Jazz Festival NYNY 1960. Monk & Edward Ellington Kennedy AKA Duke, starred among numerous others. I can not recall the entire Line Up but Monk brought along his Hat Collection which at the time contained I believe he told me 33 or 35 international Hats which he periodically changed often during his Solos. I have been unable to find that roster for that particular festival and since it was long ago I remember mostly Monk & Duke. Paul Gonsalvas played his legendary trademark twenty something chorus solo in between Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue which was outstanding.
The first jazz record I bought was Firstly, my Bro George was / is a Marine and he sent home his wax collection of LP's from Camp Pendleton CA before deploying to Okinawa in 1956 I think. Bird, Getz, Mulligan & Baker, Erroll Garner, Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Jazz at Newport 1956 and many more. I fell in love with Bird, Getz and Jeru & Chet for openers. Pres to my mind takes the all time Tenor Award and Budo, Piano etc.! However I digress Getz Long Island Sound and every other Getz record that I could find that was 1957 by then and I snuck in to Birdland for the First of many times before I was 18 ( Legal drinking age back then) It wasn't until just after my 18th Birthday that I was carded much to the bouncers chagrin as he recognized me as having being an established customer by then.
My advice to new listeners: Listen to the Music and keep it in the forefront not the background. A Local Band Leader whose name escapes me once said to me Jerry you can make time for the chicks later the Music is in the now and is more important than chicks ever will be. He was correct!
Next see live performances and introduce yourself to the Players most of whom will be respectful. Some, however, are unapproachable such as when I saw Miles so many times but his obvious disdain for certain fans was evident and he always walked off the stage after soloing. (Eddie Jefferson sang words to So What that so indicated this)!