More new music from Louisiana. But do not mistake this for Zydeco, no.
Mainstream jazz is alive and well and living in Louisiana. My mailbox has been populated as of late with a number of good recordings from artists that, in one way or another, have a connection to Dr. Alvin Batiste, famed clarinetist and professor at Southern University in Baton Rouge. The most recent in this procession is the young saxophonist Russ Bryant.
Reared in Atlanta, Bryant began his musical journey in the local public school. His real education was to begin in college while attending Louisiana State University and gigging in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The end result? Russ Bryant and his band play a solid and intelligent brand of Post Bop in a vernacular manifested in both his originals and chosen standards.
Never Assume is a panorama of "modern" jazz. The title cut is jaunty Hard Bop. Monk's "Well, You Needn't" is retooled in a shuffling time. "Atlanta Traffic" is an organ tenor orgy. James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)" is funky fun. "Body and Soul" is played reverently, but never smells of age.
Bryant's band is capable and supports him well as he winds his way through the lexicon of post-1960s mainstream jazz. This music is great fun from a new and rising talent.
Track Listing: Never Assume; Well, You Needn't; Some Other Time; Atlanta Traffic; Falling Time; GO; Outta State Tag; I Got You (I Feel Good); Introduction; One Day; A Cool Day; Body And Soul. (Total Time: 60:00)
Personnel: Russ Bryant: Saxophones; Gino Giles: Guitar; Mike Esnealt: Piano, Organ; Roland Guerin: Bass; Troy David: Drums.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.