All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

4

Walt Weiskopf: Open Road

David A. Orthmann By

Sign in to view read count
It all starts with the sound of Walt Weiskopf's tenor saxophone. Large, keening, expansive, his tone sometimes threatens to explode and wreak havoc on everything it touches. During lyrical passages and on ballads, he scales the sound back a little, waxing sensitive, tender, even poetic, but not abandoning its core—the moderation usually doesn't last very long. Whether executing a dizzying mass of phrases, braying a long bent note, hopscotching through a convoluted passage, or playing a relatively simple, unadorned melody, the visceral impact of Weiskopf's sound always looms large in the overall scheme of things.

The combination of Weiskopf's tone and impressive technique is indicative of an unusually disciplined approach to the horn. Expect something that sounds raw, entails a calculated consistency, and shows no sign of weakness; friction that always remains in tight fisted control. An act of will, a statement of purpose, its own reason for being, this frequently gut wrenching, sometimes intimidating sound is the gateway to other aspects of Weiskopf's considerable talent.

As tempting as it is to sing Weiskopf's praises and then simply assign him to a concise list of monster tenor players, the horn is part of a larger story. Open Road, Weiskopf's seventeenth date as a leader, belongs in the select circle of an impressive body of recorded work, including Song For My Mother, Anytown, Siren, Sight To Sound (a ten part suite that ranks as his magnum opus), all on the Criss Cross Jazz label, as well as last year's Overdrive, his inaugural disc for Posi-Tone. Though his tenor is as formidable as ever, like all of these records, it competes for attention with Weiskopf's original compositions, arrangements, as well as a penchant for bringing together exactly the right personnel for a particular project.

In the spirit of celebrating an artist who has exhibited a quarter century of achievement and is still at the top of his game, it's time for performers to step up and interpret—and record—Weiskopf's material. (Over the past few years saxophonist Petr Kalfus of the Czech Republic has occasionally performed "Sight To Sound" live with his sextet.) Open Road contains its share of compositions that would enrich other people's repertoire. "Premonition" is a catchy, pointed tune that contains two hooks: A handful of notes in the low end of Peter Zak's piano temporarily break up the flow, and variations of a part of the melody are repeated three times. An artful mixture of protracted tones and darting lines, the up-tempo "Open Road" feels like something suitable for traveling at high speed on an interstate, until Weiskopf trips things up with a brief, stumbling, funky phrase played once, and then echoed four times at the song's end. "Stage Whisper" and "Tricycle" represent Weiskopf at his lyrical, reflective best, both sporting rich, patiently developed melodies. Introduced by drummer Steve Fidyk's rough, boisterous time figures, "Electroshock" is a shifting, holy terror of a ride, abruptly moving from Weiskopf's rhyming, banshee wails, to Zak's throbbing bass note figures, to additional energetic themes executed by the saxophonist while Fidyk and bassist Mike Karn roll with the changes and lay down a firm foundation.

The weak, indecisive, or those lacking in resources wouldn't survive in Weiskopf's company. Zak, Karn, and Fidyk are a band of fitting accomplices, players who share his vision, match his prodigious level of energy, find their own unique ways to serve the music, and give as good as they get. Their inspired support is an important part of another significant chapter in Weiskopf's evolution as an artist.


Track Listing: Premonition; Let's Spend the Day Together; Open Road; Nancy (With the Laughing Face); Gates of Madrid; Stage Whisper; Invitation to the Dance; Tricycle; Chronology; Angel Eyes; Electroshock; Leaves of Grass.

Personnel: Walt Weiskopf: Tenor Saxophone; Peter Zak: Piano; Mike Karn: Bass; Steve Fidyk: Drums.

Title: Open Road | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

In Pictures
CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Fountain Of Youth

Fountain Of Youth

Posi-Tone Records
2017

buy
The Way You Say It

The Way You Say It

Posi-Tone Records
2016

buy
Open Road

Open Road

Posi-Tone Records
2015

buy
Overdrive

Overdrive

Posi-Tone Records
2014

buy

Related Articles

Read with whom you can be who you are CD/LP/Track Review
with whom you can be who you are
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Inner Core CD/LP/Track Review
Inner Core
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Dirigo Rataplan II CD/LP/Track Review
Dirigo Rataplan II
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 21, 2018
Read The Window CD/LP/Track Review
The Window
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Mønk CD/LP/Track Review
Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018
Read The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2018
Read "Baby's Party" CD/LP/Track Review Baby's Party
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2018
Read "Accelerated Projection" CD/LP/Track Review Accelerated Projection
by Don Phipps
Published: February 14, 2018
Read "A Big (Band) Swinging Christmas!" CD/LP/Track Review A Big (Band) Swinging Christmas!
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 25, 2017
Read "Avant-Garde Party Music" CD/LP/Track Review Avant-Garde Party Music
by Mark Corroto
Published: October 26, 2017
Read "Beethoven – Missa Solemnis" CD/LP/Track Review Beethoven – Missa Solemnis
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 17, 2018
Read "120 Onetwenty" CD/LP/Track Review 120 Onetwenty
by Jim Olin
Published: August 26, 2018