I was unfamiliar with saxophonist Ted Hogarth, but my hunch before listening to his second album, Misconception
, was that anyone who has played with Rob Parton's Chicago-based JazzTech Big Band, as Hogarth has, must be pretty darned good. That impression was correct. Hogarth is pretty darned goodand so is his six-member Collective, which lives up to its name with an admirably congenial performance.
Hogarth, an ardent post bopper, plays primarily tenor and baritone sax. According to the booklet and tray he also plays the seldom-heard C-melody sax, but after several listenings I've been unable to ascertain where. Hogarth's problem is that the woods these days are full of talented and versatile players, so what usually separates one individual or group from another is the music they endorse. In this case, the Collective performs seven compositions by Hogarth and two by drummer Darren Scorza.
The overall effect is best summed up in the title of one, Hogarth's "Even Keel. While most everything swings nicely enough, the mood is generally relaxed and subtle, the themes themselves less than memorable. In his liner notes, Neil Tesser asserts that "almost anyone age 20 to 70 can appreciate Hogarth's music, so it seems I barely made it under the wire. One more year and I'd have been out of luck.
As it is, I did appreciate the music, even though I was seldom inflamed by it. Scorza's charts ("Second Laugh, "So Far, Lofaro ) are quite pleasing, as are Hogarth's "Dance, "Aspirations and "Children's Song. Hogarth gives everyone a chance to shine, and there are tasteful solos along the way by trumpeter Brian Schwab, trombonist Andy Baker and especially pianist Jo Ann Daugherty, who also comps superbly. The rhythm section (Daugherty, Scorza, bassist Bob Lovecchio) is bright and responsive.
Although Gerry Mulligan is cited as an influence on Hogarth's baritone, his sound is smoother than Mulligan's, leaning, on the placid "Children's Song, more toward the legendary Swedish master Lars Gullin. His expressive tenor is out of the Michael Brecker/Joe Henderson school.
Misconception is splendidly recorded, the playing time ample. In sum, a respectable session by a group of well-schooled musicians. If I may be permitted a wish, it would be that Hogarth and the Collective consider an album of standards from the Great American Songbook for their next enterprise.
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Ted Hogarth: tenor, baritone sax, C-melody sax; Brian Schwab: trumpet, flugelhorn; Andy
Baker: trombone; Jo Ann Daugherty: piano, Fender Rhodes; Bob Lovecchio: bass; Darren