Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Danny Mixon: Pass It On

4

Danny Mixon: Pass It On

By

Sign in to view read count
Danny Mixon: Pass It On
You'd think that a pianist who's solidly served as sideman for such pillars of the jazz community as Charles Mingus, Betty Carter, Kenny Dorham, Grant Green and others (including Afro-Cuban firebrands Pucho & His Latin Soul Brothers), would be at least somewhat famous. But since his first performances in the mid-1970s, pianist Danny Mixon has maintained such a low profile that he's still relatively unknown.

Mixon's first release since his self-produced Peace & Music (2008), Pass It On brings Mixon more into the public spotlight. Solidly footed in the jazz tradition, it explores famous and not-so-famous compositions by Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Wayne Shorter, and Freddie Hubbard, plus two Mixon originals with deep roots in the blues, played with a rotating gallery of six rhythm mates (three different drummers and bassists) plus saxophonist Fred Staton, blues-jazz vocalist Dakota Staton's brother.

It's pretty ballsy for one pianist to open his first recording in nearly a decade with a tune not just closely associated with but flat-out named for another pianist. But that's precisely what Mixon does with "Blue Monk," tap-dancing on its melody, rocking its chords, and soulfully rolling through elegant yet blues-based runs. His solo piano rendition of "Single Petal of a Rose," simple and unadorned, allows all the beauty of Duke Ellington's original melody to fully bloom.

Mixon so adeptly explores two Wayne Shorter tunes that you'd think they were composed for piano, seamlessly swapping improvisations in and out of the verses of "Yes or No" and blending jazz, blues and classical styles into "Infant Eyes," played as soft and gentle as baby's breath.

Pass It On programs Mixon's two originals back to back: As basic as its title, "My Blues" rolls as steadily and powerfully as the Mississippi River through its delta homeland—just a great old school piano blues played by a pianist who truly "tickles the ivories" in his swirling mid-song improvisation, and who's lived long enough to have genuinely experienced the blues. A tribute more in feeling and tone than style, "The Sample Way" honors The Crusaders' keyboardist Joe Sample with a truly sing-able melody that organically rises from solid yet shifting rhythmic footing.

In the center of Pass It On, "Memories of You," Hubbard's tune "Up Jumped Spring," and "The Very Thought of You," combine to survey jazz piano from Art Tatum to Thelonious Monk (especially Mixon's strongly rhythmic left hand) to Red Garland to McCoy Tyner—all in the space of about twelve minutes.

Track Listing

Blue Monk; Infant Eyes; On a Clear Day; Memories of You; Up Jumped Spring; The Very Thought of You; Yes or No; My Blues; The Sample Way; Single Petal of a Rose; That's All; Minton's.

Personnel

Danny Mixon: piano; Marcus McLaurine: bass; Rudy Lawless: drums; Damon Duewhite: drums; Ghanniyya Green: vocalist; Bryce Sebastien: bass; Paul Ramsey: bass: McClenty Hunter: drums; Fred Staton: sax.

Album information

Title: Pass It On | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Self Produced


Comments

Tags


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

More

Mad Dream
Sued / Nandayapa / Bergmann / Saunders
8 Concepts of Tango
Hakon Skogstad
Evolver
Bruno Raberg Tentet

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.