117

Don Lanphere: Home At Last

By

Sign in to view read count
Veteran tenor saxophonist Don Lanphere is a modern Lazarus, a bebop-blowing master brought back to life by Jesus. The 73-year-old Yakima-bred musician was a teenaged fixture on the New York scene during 52nd Street heyday. He made his recording session debut with Max Roach and Fats Navarro in New York in 1948 and hung out with Charlie Parker at bebop’s birth. By the time Lanphere was 22, he had a heroin habit, an arrest record, and had lost his girlfriend, Chan Richardson, to Parker. Ten years later, after another drug bust (marijuana), Lanphere quit the music business…for 23 years.

In 1982, buoyed by his born-again Christian faith at 60, Lanphere revived his career and has produced a succession of glorious swing-to-bop recordings topped by the recently released, Home At Last.

Liner notes credit inspiration from “Bird, Prez, Zoot and the two Sonnys,” but Lanphere’s warm, plaintive synthesis of stylistic advancements by Parker, Young, Sims, Rollins and Stitt is a very personal sound, a masterful, individual voice. On Home At Last, Lanphere’s assured, succinct improvisations are framed expertly by New Stories’ supple rhythmic support. Pianist Marc Seales is a particularly adept accompanyist and, like his rhythm team of bassist Doug Miller and drummer John Bishop, a sensitive listener who knows how to leave lots of breathing room for the leader.

Romantic ballad readings of “Alone Together,” “Violets For Your Furs,” and “Goodbye” ground the group’s more muscular workouts with a tenderness that is heartbreakingly beautiful. The confidence and virility of Lanphere’s playing is in evidence from the opening “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes.” Seales stands out on that cut too. Several of the band’s arrangements are playful adaptations of the ballad form, particularly Lanphere’s clever remaking of “My Ideal” and Hank Mobley’s “ Home At Last.” Another treat is Lanphere’s elegiac soprano sax reading of “Estate” followed by the saxophonist’s most endearing homage to Lester Young, a gorgeous version of “The End of A Love Affair.” He caps a superb studio effort with a soulful, wise version of Gordon Jenkins’ “Goodbye.” Don Lanphere is an absolute master, and this is a masterpiece.


Track Listing: 1. The Night Has a Thousand Eyes (Garrett/Wayne/Weisman) - 6:32 2. Alone Together (Dietz/Schwartz) - 8:15 3. My Ideal (Whiting) - 6:51 4. Invitation (Kaper) - 8:21 5. Violets for Your Furs (Dennis) - 5:40 6. Home at Last (Mobley) - 6:55 7. Solar (Davis) - 6:47 8. Estate (Brighetti/Martino) - 6:14 9. End of a Love Affair (Redding) - 5:04 10. Goodbye (Jenkins) - 4:51

Personnel: Don Lanphere - Saxophone, Doug Miller - Bass, Marc Seales - Piano

Title: Home At Last | Year Released: 2002


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Triple Double CD/LP/Track Review Triple Double
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2017
Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read "Feather" CD/LP/Track Review Feather
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "The Hidden Notes - Spirit Of Adventure" CD/LP/Track Review The Hidden Notes - Spirit Of Adventure
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Testimony" CD/LP/Track Review Testimony
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 26, 2017
Read "Popofoni" CD/LP/Track Review Popofoni
by Duncan Heining
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "In the Still of the Night" CD/LP/Track Review In the Still of the Night
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Skyjack" CD/LP/Track Review Skyjack
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 24, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.