Fred Haas is a musician one can only hope will keep recording because not even the jazz media is eternally obtuse. His recording I Thought About You highlights his tenor saxophone accompanied by pianist Bob Hallahan. This CD is a world away from a breezy throw together session. It documents a subtle, sophisticated exchange by two intelligent musicians who demonstrate little interest in taking any of the easy routes out.
Hallahan is an excellent accompanist who plays with restraint and tact, but just beneath the surface is a sensibility that is crucial to the success of this recording. Hass plays a poignant tenor honed to the emotional possibilities of the compositional material and to the piano voice of his capable accompanist. These two listen to each other intensely; part of the beauty of this recording is the fine shadings of response in the respectful dialog of these two musicians.
The opening track, “Theme For Ernie” sets the after hours tone of this session. Haas frames the track with two outstanding slow tempo solos displaying his typically graceful command of phrasing and dynamics. Hallahan’s long connecting solo develops the opening mood as the dialog shifts from the sax to the piano. Hallahan has a clear, bright right hand technique and a subtle left hand with a solid bassists sense of time.
Haas’s solo saxophone performance on “Embraceable You” is worth several studies. This performance highlights Haas’s elliptic use of silences, his ability to imply without feeling a need to totally define. This is a wonderfully sculpted solo performance that shows just how accomplished a musician we’re listening to.
Perhaps, I Thought About You could be criticized for a focus too much on slow to medium tempo standards. But we can project this desire to hear a few up-tempo numbers toward a future recording involving this duo. This CD is full of beautiful, thoughtful music that deepens with repeated listening, a jazz rarity in our time. Highly recommended.
Track Listing: Theme for Ernie; My One And Only Love; Lover Man; Body and Soul; Embraceable You; Sail Away; I Thought About You; Very Early; Autumn; You Don't Know What Love Is; Samantha's Blues.
Personnel: Fred Haas, saxophone; Bob Hallahan, piano.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.