220

Jake Fryer / Bud Shank: In Good Company

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Young British composer/alto saxophonist Jake Fryer joins forces with veteran bopper Bud Shank and his favorite West Coast rhythm section, to form the Jake Fryer / Bud Shank Quintet for In Good Company. It's a lively and engaging album, a mix of standards and Fryer originals that brings the two alto saxophonists together for a recording date full of spontaneity, mutual respect and enjoyment. Sadly, it also proved to be the 82 year-old Shank's valedictory recording, as he was not in good health and died on April 2nd 2009, the day after the session took place.

In his liner notes, Fryer refers to In Good Company as "a first takes album." This approach ensures that the recording has the excitement and fun of a late night jam session. Sure, there are occasional imperfections and minor errors, but their appearances are few and do nothing to disrupt the Quintet's swagger and swing. Shank may not be at the height of his powers, but he can still blow.

The two saxophonists have distinct but complementary tones: Shanks has the tighter, "alto-going-on-soprano" sound; Fryer the mellower, "alto-going-on-tenor" sound. The three rhythm section players—bassist Bob Magnusson, pianist Mike Wofford and drummer Joe La Barbera—are reliable, solid, and tight; but, above all, swinging.

The quintet opens with Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington's perennial favorite, "Caravan." After Magnusson's slinky introduction, Shank storms into his opening solo with verve, and Wofford and LaBarbera swiftly settle in behind him. Fryer's own tunes, six in all, carry on with this high energy bebop approach. "Bopping With Bud," written in tribute to the veteran player, gives the two altoists a chance to trade phrases and solos in friendly competition, while "Tip Top and Tickety Boo" races along merrily, with both Fryer and Shank delivering some fluid and complex lines. Fryer wrote "The Time Lord" expressly for LaBarbera, who repays the honor with inventive and driving percussion. The band eases down a little for Lerner and Lowe's "Almost Like Being In Love," its smoothly low key performance the most overtly romantic on the album.

Fryer, who also heads up the London Bebop Collective, achieved an ambition when Shank agreed to join him for this date. In Good Company gives little indication of Shank's problems. It is, by contrast, an affirmation of life: a joyous blast of a performance, a worthy epitaph for the veteran saxophonist and a strong musical statement from Fryer and the Quintet.

Track Listing: Caravan; Bopping With Bud; Agnieszka; Tip Top and Tickety Boo; Breaking Loose; The Time Lord; Almost Like Being In Love; In Good Company; Speak Low.

Personnel: Jake Fryer: alto saxophone; Bud Shank: alto saxophone; Mike Wofford: piano; Bob Magnussson: bass; Joe LaBarbera: drums.

Title: In Good Company | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Capri Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Two in a Box CD/LP/Track Review Two in a Box
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Discussions CD/LP/Track Review Discussions
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read "Tangle" CD/LP/Track Review Tangle
by John Eyles
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "Viriditas" CD/LP/Track Review Viriditas
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "Mount Meander" CD/LP/Track Review Mount Meander
by John Sharpe
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 43 - Zurich 1950" CD/LP/Track Review Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 43 - Zurich 1950
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 12, 2017
Read "3Divas" CD/LP/Track Review 3Divas
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "Henry" CD/LP/Track Review Henry
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 1, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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