by David A. Orthmann
Although he'll always be known as the first baritone saxophonist to adapt the notoriously obdurate instrument to the complexities of bebop, some of Cecil Payne's finest music has been made during the most recent decade of his distinguished, 50-plus year career. Inspired by tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander and drummer Joe Farnsworth, two talented young players in the straight-ahead tradition, Payne came out of a premature retirement in the early 90s. Since then he has recorded six discs as a leader, ...read more
by Derek Taylor
Active during the birth of be-bop Cecil Payne has been making memorable music for over sixty years. His warmly expressive baritone sound is a regular fixture in Chicago clubs like the Jazz Showcase, the venue where this affable string of dates for Delmark was taped. Payne's reservoir for Delmark is now four records deep and the label continues to champion his still largely formidable talents.
The solid cast of colleagues he enlists for the engagement similarly celebrates his reputation. Often ...read more
by Derek Taylor
Cecil Payne turns seventy-seven this month. Most people who are lucky enough to reach such an advanced age have long since retired from their craft. Payne has chosen a different path and judging from the sturdy work on this disc he isn't showing many signs of slowing down in his twilight years. After over a half century in the jazz trenches he's still delivering his signature brand of versatility and style to his instrument. And as on his earlier Delmark ...read more
by Jack Bowers
Cecil Payne, one of the most commanding and creative baritone voices to emerge from the bop era, is now 77 years old and, we understand, in failing health, but one would never guess that from his latest Delmark release, recorded only last year, on which Payne apparently has no trouble keeping pace with such relative adolescents as Alexander, Davis, Webber and Farnsworth. Even pianist Mabern, hardly wet behind the ears at 63, is a generation younger than Payne. I'm always ...read more
by Joel Roberts
Cecil Payne has been on the scene since the late 1940s. Perhaps best known for his stint with the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra and his long association with Randy Weston, he is one of the true masters of a difficult instrument, the baritone saxophone. Originally issued in 1961 on Charlie Parker Records, this album features Payne leading an all-star ensemble through a set, appropriately enough, of Charlie Parker tunes.
Payne is joined by Bird's pianist Duke Jordan, the impeccable ...read more