This album can be divided into two segments, Joel Brandon as a flautist and Joel Brandon as the master whistler. He is a virtuoso in both winning the National and International whistling Championships from 1985 to 1989. The whistling is truly amazing. Unlike those few purveyors of the art over the years such as Jack Marshall, Sammy Page and, of course, Elmo Tanner, Brandon's sound is much softer and his technique more agile. His sound is so unique and has reached such a high state of proficiency that he has been a guest of several musical organizations, including the Portland Oregon Symphony Orch. On "Dedication", Brandon has some fun with those who believe his whistling is a trick. While mouth warbling is not likely to become a major jazz instrument, Brandon demonstrates it can add a different and pleasurable dimension to the music.
When it comes to the flute, Brandon occasionally lets his brilliance get away from him. "Seamless" reveals Brandon's breath control as he speeds nonstop through a couple of choruses seemingly without taking a gulp of air. While impressive, the problem is that this approach literally runs over the melody. It isn't until Brown comes in with his piano break that you can appreciate the attractive melody line of this tune. On the other hand, the full impact of the flute's melodic and improvisional possibilities in Brandon's capable hands come to fruition in lovely renditions of "In a Sentimental Mood" and his own exotic "Lovielee".
Brandon gets superb help from the musicians he has brought into the studio with him. Special kudos go to master drummer Billy Higgins, percussionist Famoudou Don Moye and the inimitable Willie Pickens on piano. This is another winner from the Southport label and is recommended.
Track Listing: Haven't We All...?; Countdown*; Dedication*@^; The Whistler's Rhyme#; Seamless*@; Lovielee*@; In a Sentimental Mood*; Straight Ahead#
Personnel: Joel Brandon - Vocal/Whistler/Flute; Willie Pickens, Kirk Brown* - Piano; Harrison Bankhead - Bass; Billy Higgins/Morris Jennings@ - Drums; Famoudou Don Moye# - Percussion; Keith Henderson^ - Guitar
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.