Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

6

Walt Weiskopf: Overdrive

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
Since making his first two records on the independent Iris label back in the early '90s, Walt Weiskopf has staked a claim as one of the most advanced and iconic tenor saxophonists in jazz. However, even as he went on to record one great record after another for Criss Cross beginning in 1993, Weiskopf remained under the radar of most listeners and seldom even registered on most critics polls.

Over the past several years his profile has risen via regular road work with the group Steely Dan. What is great about this particular role is that within the framework of a popular touring act, there still is plenty of space for Weiskopf to exert himself musically. Although it's been four long years since his last Criss Cross date, See the Pyramid, Weiskopf has fortunately joined the fold at Posi-Tone and his debut for the label is yet another singular release in his distinguished catalog.

Weiskopf is a talented improviser, but his real strengths have also always come in his compositional genius. This is no less the case with this new effort. And like his greatest work, Weiskopf always sounds best when he fills his ensembles with other lead voices. That signature blend of angular melodies is there at the get-go of "The Path is Narrow," with Weiskopf's tenor speaking in tandem with Yotam Silberstein's guitar. The upbeat vibe of "Like Mike" trades the guitar unison with the vibes of Behn Gillece, reminding one of the great teaming of Weiskopf and Joe Locke on the Criss Cross set Anytown. During his solo, the tenor saxophonist steams forward with a rush of quicksilver ideas that seem to be bursting at the seams. Then the tempo switches to cut time after a restating of the theme, leading to some collective interplay between Weiskopf and Silberstein.

Providing the perfect bookend to complement the previously penned "Song for My Mother," the lovely "Waltz for Dad" includes a nice melodic hook at the end of the leading phrase. Drummer Donald Edwards a mainstay of the Weiskopf fold for the past several albums, boots things along nicely as pianist Peter Zak makes his own piquant statement with sly backing lines provides by Weiskopf and Gillece.

While Weiskopf is a master of those barn burning tempos, his solo statement on the ballad "Jewel and a Flower" uses space and a breathy attack that suits the mood to a tee. He also takes his time and allows the forward momentum to guide his statements on a gorgeous reworking of Michel Legrand's "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?"

Over the course of the ten tracks heard here, interest never wanes because Weiskopf so artfully varies his material. His melodies are strong declarations on their own and not just used as a launching pad for the solos. And speaking of solos, they are divided up so as to offer diversity as well, not just the same string of statements from one tune to the next. In fact, the use of collective duet improvisations at the close of several pieces is a stimulating change of pace. It all adds up to yet another strong statement that sits well among Weiskopf's already heady catalog; one that listeners miss at their own peril.

Track Listing: The Path Is Narrow; Like Mike; Jewel And A Flower; Night Vision; Overdrive; Waltz For Dad; Four Horsemen; Midwinter Night's Dream; What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?; No Biz.

Personnel: Walt Weiskopf:tenor saxophone; Behn Gillece: vibraphone; Yotam Silberstein: guitar; Peter Zak: piano; David Wong: bass; Donald Edwards: drums.

Title: Overdrive | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by John Sharpe
Published: December 14, 2017
Read I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Celebrating William Parker at 65 CD/LP/Track Review Celebrating William Parker at 65
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Eternal Life CD/LP/Track Review Eternal Life
by Jerome Wilson
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Baby It's Cold Outside CD/LP/Track Review Baby It's Cold Outside
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Wrong Turns And Dead Ends CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read "Highsmith" CD/LP/Track Review Highsmith
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 7, 2017
Read "Langen ro" CD/LP/Track Review Langen ro
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 8, 2017
Read "Verisimilitude" CD/LP/Track Review Verisimilitude
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 1, 2017
Read "The Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" CD/LP/Track Review The Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "Rome" CD/LP/Track Review Rome
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: November 15, 2017
Read "Cross-Platform Interchange" CD/LP/Track Review Cross-Platform Interchange
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 4, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!