104

Virginia Mayhew: Phantoms

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Virginia Mayhew: Phantoms Virginia Mayhew's previous recording, No Walls (Foxhaven, 2000) , introduced the saxophonist in a big way to the jazz public. It was her third recording overall, being preceded by Nina Green (Chiaroscuro, 1997) and It's Time for Virginia Mayhew (Philology, 1996). Ms. Mayhew has established herself at the forefront of tenor/soprano saxophonists and composers and rests on the edge of greatness. Her saxophone style is made up of generous portions of Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, and Charles Lloyd. She is a facile composer, steeping her compositions with wit and humor while remaining dead serious about her duty to the music.

Virginia Mayhew's new recording, Phantoms, picks up where she left off with No Walls. She continues to loosen her approach to performance, providing focused and flowing music that never falls into excessive post bop freedom. Rather, her invention is lightly but securely tethered to her vision. Joining her on this recording are longtime associates Ingrid Jensen on trumpet and flugelhorn, Allison Miller on drums and Harvie Swartz on bass. Together, this band produces some of the most memorable contemporary post bop in recent memory.

The disc opens with a breezy "Phantoms," composed by Kenny Barron, Mayhew's associate and mentor. The performance is totally integrated, while affording all band members ultimate freedom. This same airy approach is employed on the disc's centerpiece, "I'm a Fool to Want You." Mayhew shows off her soprano-ballad chops with Miller tastefully providing a minimum of percussion and Swartz a beautifully constructed arco accompaniment.

Here, however, is where Ingrid Jensen shines the brightest. She and Mayhew are of one mind on this the longest piece on the recording, clocking in at just over ten minutes. "Babble On" showcases Mayhew on tenor and a muted Jensen performing in an older, more gospel-inflected style. The song begins with a lengthy duet introduction. By the time the whole band has joined in, the song transitions into some very smart bebop, Mayhew sounding a bit like Wardell Gray married to Dexter Gordon.

The remaining standard on the recording is by Monk. Mayhew provides a delightfully different "Rhythm-A-Ning," presented in her singular voice. The time is sideways, even for a Monk tune, but very effectively so. Mayhew approaches this Monk tune with a creativity bordering on Steve Lacy, as opposed to than Wynton Marsalis. It is this spirit that makes this recording a necessity.

For more information, please see Virginia Mayhew and Renma Recordings .


Track Listing: The Theme/Phantoms, I Love You, Monterey Blues, I'm Fool to Want You, Babble On, Live Your Life, Facil, Fall, Dubai, Rhythm-A-Ning, The Theme

Personnel: Ingrid Jensen, trumpet and flugelhorn; Harvie S., bass; Allison Miller, drums and percussion; Virginai Mayhew, tenor and soprano sax

Title: Phantoms | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Remma


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Horizonte" CD/LP/Track Review Horizonte
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 31, 2017
Read "Live At Maxwell's" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Maxwell's
by Budd Kopman
Published: September 23, 2016
Read "As The Wind" CD/LP/Track Review As The Wind
by John Eyles
Published: January 12, 2017
Read "Rising Colossus" CD/LP/Track Review Rising Colossus
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "Clockwork" CD/LP/Track Review Clockwork
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 13, 2016
Read "In the Still of the Night" CD/LP/Track Review In the Still of the Night
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: May 22, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.