Here's another set of standards, a bunch of songs out of The Great American Songbook. The line-up: Tenor sax out in front of the piano/bass/drums rhythm section. Nothing earthshaking here...
But it's done on this Moodsville, with such style and reverence, with a distinct muscular-toned tenor flavor.
The three rhythm guys on the discMulgrew Miller on piano; Peter Washington, bass; and Lewis Nash doing the drum choresare all better known in jazz circles than leader/tenor man Bennie Wallace, but Wallace's talent keeps pace with his bandmates. He has put out a couple of fine CDs on the Enja label, another two on Blue Note; and also has done the sondtracks for the movies "Blaze"(1990) and "White Men Can't Jump" (1992). He has a deep, throaty, Coleman Hawkins-like tone, and an energetic and sometimes edgey, Dolphyesque approach to his soloing that contrasts beautifully with his relatively smoother accompaniment. The leader/rhythm section tug-of-war is what makes the music. Mulgrew and crew at timessmilinglyseem to be in a reigning-in mode with leader Wallaceto the benefit of the music. Wallace sounds like a free blower ensnaredhappilyin an environment that is holding him back, just a bit. Melody is king here, though Wallace stretches it at times.
The songs: "I'll Never Smile Again; "Dizzy's Con Alma"; an "April In Paris" that'll have you reaching for your "Hawk In Paris" CD, to contrast Manny Albam's lush orchestrations with Wallace's pared down approach; a reverent version of Miles Davis's "Milestones"; a hopped-up, Latinized take on Cole Porter's "Love for Sale": a couple of lovely (but aren't they all) Strayhorns: "Little Brown Book" and "A Flower is a Lovesome Thing".
A fresh and distinctive revisitation of some American Classics, a must have CD for fans of Coleman Hawkins or Dexter Gordon's quartet work.
Track Listing: I'll Never Smile Again, Con Alma, April in Paris, Milestones, When a Man Loves a Woman, Love for Sale, My Little Brown Book, I Concentrate on You, A Flower is a Lovesome Thing.
Personnel: Bennie Wallace, Tenor Sax; Mulgrew Miller, piano; Lewis Nash, drums; Peter Washington, bass
I love jazz because it is in my blood. It is the only original American art form. It is sacred. The greatest musicians are jazz artists.
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 listening to my father's records of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young.
I met Sonny Stitt, Wayne Shorter, Branford Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo, Michael Brecker, Cannonball Adderley, Walter Booker, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, George Benson, Mike
Stern, Stanley Turrentine, Billy Harper, Skip Hadden, Charlie Haden.
The best show I ever attended was Joe Lovano with Soundprints at the Wexner Center in Columbus Ohio in 2014.
The first jazz record I bought was Miles Smiles.