Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

218

Benjamin Drazen: Inner Flights

David A. Orthmann By

Sign in to view read count
Track review of "Polka Dots And Moonbeams"

Alto and soprano saxophonist Benjamin Drazen's smashing debut recording as a leader contains all of the essential ingredients for a meaningful mainstream jazz record. The leader's seven original compositions are a diverse, substantial, and pleasantly familiar lot. Drazen and pianist Jon Davis, the disc's primary soloists, play in the moment and think their way through improvisations instead of endlessly spewing licks mastered in the practice room. The rhythm section, comprised of Davis, bassist Carlo Derosa, and drummer Eric McPherson, evinces a focused, levelheaded quality, even while they engage in rousing, straightforward swing.

Taken at a snail's pace, Drazen's version of the standard "Polka Dots And Moonbeams" is six minutes and fifty-eight seconds of pure ballad magic. Following Davis's brief introduction, the saxophonist seesaws between a tender rendering of the tune's melody and hearty, effusive locutions. He tugs at the heartstrings and engages the intellect. Later on, his improvisation is more assertive yet never departs from the character of the song. Davis' brief solo makes every note fit into a larger scheme. There's a quiet, understated eloquence in the ways in which chords are lightly struck and sustained. At one point Davis plays a portion of one of the tune's phrases, lets a note hang in the air, and then DeRosa deftly fills in the rest. Throughout the track, Drazen and company make emotionally compelling music that doesn't need to shout to make its point.

Track Listing: Mr. Twilight; Monkish; Prayer For Brothers Gone; Jazz Heaven; Inner Flights; Neeney's Waltz; This Is New; Kickin' Up Dirt; Polka Dots And Moonbeams.

Personnel: Benjamin Drazen: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Jon Davis: piano; Carlo De Rosa: bass; Eric McPherson: drums.

Title: Inner Flights | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Bound CD/LP/Track Review Not Bound
by Don Phipps
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "Live In Brooklyn" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Brooklyn
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "Cross-Platform Interchange" CD/LP/Track Review Cross-Platform Interchange
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 4, 2017
Read "The Bucket List" CD/LP/Track Review The Bucket List
by Doug Collette
Published: October 28, 2017
Read "Do Not Go Gently" CD/LP/Track Review Do Not Go Gently
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 19, 2017
Read "April" CD/LP/Track Review April
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "Copenhagen Live 1964" CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Live 1964
by John Sharpe
Published: December 15, 2017