Alto saxophonist Jim Snidero is a masterful mainstream jazz man, though he's proven his versatility and overall musical acumen, including a third stream lean, on his Strings
(Fantasy Jazz, 2003), a set that featured a jazz quartet teamed with strings. Interface
finds Snidero back in a straight-ahead frame of mind, teamed, for his third consecutive recording on the Savant Records label, with guitarist Paul Bollenback
. The pairing is an auspicious one. Bollenbeckan outstanding leader in his own rightis also a masterful sideman, whether it's with vocalist Chris McNulty
, or here with Snidero. The difference between Interface
and the saxophonist's previous Savant outing, 2009's Crossfire
, is his arranging alternately for acoustic as well as electric guitar. Bollenback's acoustic approach lends a warm and organic feeling to the music, especially on the smooth-flowing bossa nova of "Aperitivo." When the guitarist switches to electric, he lends the sound a modern metallic shine, whether its the torrid "Fall Out" or the more laidback "Expectations."
On this set of Snidero originals, there is a good deal of guitar/saxophone give-and-take. The saxophonist varies his tone throughout, with a bite-of-unsweetened-grapefruit tang on the title tune, a rich Julian "Cannonball" Adderley
sound on "Silhouette," and a darker and even richer tone on the pensive "One By One."
The late-night "After the Pain" (written by Snidero after his mother passed away) is a bluesy marination in melancholy, with a feeling of acceptance tinting the sad mood. Bollenback is on acoustic guitar here, making some of the loveliest sounds on the set, with strong competition in that effort from the leader's gorgeous round tone that fights hard to keep the anguish at bay.
alto saxophonist Jim Snidero furthers his exploration of straight-ahead jazz, consistently finding new things to say in a tried-and-true format.