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Don Aliquo: Jazz Folk

Dan McClenaghan By

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Don Aliquo: Jazz Folk Tenor saxophonist Don Aliquo is based in Nashville, Tennessee, but his sound on Jazz Folk sounds very East Coast mainstream. His smooth, clean tenor tone and seemingly fluid and intricately articulate flow of always surprising ideas brings veteran saxophonist George Coleman to mind, especially the way he makes it sound so easy.

Aliquo teams up here with a fine quintet—trumpet and sax with a rhythm section—on a set that sits right in the middle of the bop tradition. His front-line partner, trumpeter Clay Jenkins, trades eloquent solos throughout. On the disc's opener, the Aliquo-penned title tune, they blow in with a unison section before Aliquo smolders into the spotlight, with the rhythm team—bassist Rufus Reid, pianist Dana Landry and drummer Jim White—swinging loose and easy behind him.

Four of the tunes are Aliquo originals, surrounding some bouncy up-tempo Gershwin—"This is New"—plus Jules Styne's "Never Never Land" and three Rufus Reid-penned gems, giving the bassist almost a co-leader status. On "Frayed," another Aliquo original, things go a little inside-out, with some prickly trumpet/saxophone interplay in front of creative rhythm work. With Jules Styne's "Never Never Land," Aliquo gets to strut his beautifully soulful ballad playing, sounding cool and clean, a bit like the late Joe Henderson.

Jazz Folk proves itself a strong and straight-through engaging mainstream effort, full of inspired moments.

Track Listing: Jazz Folk; This Is New; Spiral Staircase; Forever on My Mind; Peaceful Flame; Time and Again; Never Never Land; Frayed; Come Out and Play

Personnel: Don Aliquo: tenor saxophone; Clay Jenkins: trumpet; Dana Landry: piano; Rufus Reid: bass; Jim White: drums

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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