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...

312

Dave Schnitter: Penpals

By

Sign in to view read count
In the late 1970's the Newport Jazz Festival programmed a Carnegie Hall concert featuring the groups of both Art Blakey and Horace Silver along with some all-star alumni guests. The impression of that concert that lingers with me to this day is the passionate and fiery if not show-stopping performance of Blakey's tenor man, David Schnitter. Had the title "Little Giant" not already been bestowed upon Johnny Griffin to distinguish him from "long, tall" Dexter Gordon, it might just as easily have been worn by the slightly-built Schnitter, with his deceptive Dexter-like power and forceful, emotive story-telling.

Pen Pals is the first recording under David Schnitter's name since 1979 (none of his four dates for Muse has been reissued). It's not only an impressive return to form by a musician who had all but vanished for over twenty years (see November AAJ profile ), but it records his remarkable musical growth as well. Both his tone and rhythmic/harmonic concept now owe more to Coltrane than to Gordon. The natural placement and strength of his sound, which is more focused and consistent, is now in the mid to upper registers of the horn; his phrasing is less symmetrical and predictable; his use of the altissimo register is more judicious, an integral part of his musical vocabulary rather than a dramatic side-show. When he does employ the lower register of the horn, it serves as a kind of contrasting subtext—characterized by incisive Rollins-like articulations—to the harmonic virtuosity of his upper-register motifs.

Apart from the striking performance of the leader, Penpals is a thoughtfully programmed, carefully produced, and immensely satisfying album. At first glance, the CD seems transparently naive—from the cover title (why not something sexy like "Return of the Messenger"?) to the titles of original tunes ("Drone Tone" is as prosaic as it is descriptive) to the liner notes (about two guys from different countries and generations who like each other). But after repeated listenings, the plain, disarming production values of the album and the deeply felt, mutually inspired performances contained therein seem like a perfect match.

Van Asselt, who lists Bill Evans and Bud Powell as influences, features the former's chord voicings and, at least on the up-tempo tunes, the latter's facile and intricate right-hand constructions. His soloing on the slow and medium tunes, though often repetitive and stiff, in some respects serves as an effective complement to the Schnitter's more adventurous, explorative statements. And as an accompanist, Van Elder is so locked in with the horn's phrasing that there's never the sense that this is another "phoned-in" tenor plus rhythm section studio session. Kegel and Robaard are equally integrated into the collaborative fabric. These are four musicians who not only respect one other but, despite the geographical divide, share an uncommon musical telepathy.

This record is available online from Munich Records and Playland Records .

Track Listing: 1. Drone Tone, 2. And So They Say, 3. Waltz for Wayne, 4. Blues for John, 5. Song for Suzanne, 6. The Prankster, 7. St. Thomas, 8. My One and Only Love, 9. Blue Bossa, 10. Haggars Promise

Personnel: David Schnitter, tenor sax; Edgar van Asselt, piano; Wim Kegel, drums; Erik Robaard, bass.

Title: Penpals | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Munich Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Oscar Peterson Plays CD/LP/Track Review
Oscar Peterson Plays
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 23, 2018
Read State Of The Baritone Volume 2 CD/LP/Track Review
State Of The Baritone Volume 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 23, 2018
Read Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume one) CD/LP/Track Review
Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume one)
by Chris May
Published: April 23, 2018
Read Friends & Family CD/LP/Track Review
Friends & Family
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 23, 2018
Read Northern Migrations CD/LP/Track Review
Northern Migrations
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Egregore CD/LP/Track Review
Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018
Read "The Best of Big Star" CD/LP/Track Review The Best of Big Star
by Doug Collette
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "Far from Over" CD/LP/Track Review Far from Over
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 8, 2017
Read "Power Of Love" CD/LP/Track Review Power Of Love
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 13, 2018
Read "Cubist" CD/LP/Track Review Cubist
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 11, 2018
Read "The 1960 Sessions with George Duvivier and Max Roach" CD/LP/Track Review The 1960 Sessions with George Duvivier and Max Roach
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 1, 2017
Read "Live at Nectar’s" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Nectar’s
by Joe Gatto
Published: May 14, 2017