With this recording of mostly solo soprano sax improvisations, Aaron Bennett invites the obvious comparisons to Steve Lacy. Both players possess a breathtaking command of the instrument, and both keep an ear open to freer sounds. Bennett, however, generally has a thicker tone and utilizes more of an open approach on Luggage. Where Lacy might doggedly pursue theme and variation, Bennett stretches the concept of variation to its furthest extreme. He explores vast alterations in tonal color; at the same time he modulates tempos from lazy to frenzied. The end of the first improvisation, for example, utilizes circular breathing to hold a single note for about a minute. But it's not a static entity like Kenny G's famous 45 minute long drone: it's a pulsing, threading, breathing creation.
Of particular note on Luggage are the two non-solo pieces, which include a five-minute duet with vocalist Kattt "Three-T" Sammon. On this improvisation, the two engage in a bit of call-and-response before settling into more abstract tonal interplay. By demonstrating his sensitivity to another voice, Bennett hints at his potential in more expanded improvisational settings. The final piece features a rather bizarre group improvisation, with the audience playing whistles and rattles while Bennett craftily toots and whirls his way around them. Unfortunately, due to miking effects, the saxophone tends to drown out all but the most persistent kazoos and shakers. But you still get the general idea. As one might expect, it's a bit scatteredbut also somehow authentic in a primitive, tribal sense. No wonder (and also too in a greater way) that Bennett dedicates Luggage to Leo Smith.
Track Listing: 1; 2; 3 (Duet); 4; 5; 6 (Concerto for soprano sax and audience).
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.