265

Grant Stewart: Plays the Music of Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn

By

Sign in to view read count
Grant Stewart: Plays the Music of Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn Here's a refreshing take on Ellingtonia, one that doesn't rely on the overdone ("Take the A Train," "Perdido") or easy ("C-Jam Blues"). Canadian native Grant Stewart brings a post-Swing, combo approach to his Ellingtonia, even going so far as to reference Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk/John Coltrane collaboration. The tenor saxophonist, whose own distinctive style has echoes of Clifford Jordan and later Al Cohn in tone and conception, leads a pos tbop/hard bop-leaning quartet with pianist Tardo Hammer, bassist Paul Gill and drummer Joe Farnsworth.

All of the material here should be familiar to fans of Ellingtonia with one exception: "Tonight I Shall Sleep," a ballad the Ellington Orchestra first recorded in 1945 with guest soloist Tommy Dorsey limning the melody on trombone. Stewart brings a rich warm tone and Dorsey-like legato approach to both the melody and his lyrical solo. Hammer's delicate, mostly single-note solo lines are reminiscent of the late John Lewis. And the ending tenor coda, with its unresolved chord echoing the conclusion of "Lush Life," suggests Strayhorn may have had a hand in the tune, although it's credited solely to Ellington.

Stewart ups the tempo, via Bob Mover's chart, of "Something to Live For," revs up "It Don't Mean a Thing" to bebop speed and excavates a bluesy groove on "The Feeling of Jazz." "Raincheck" and "I Let A Song Go Out of My Heart" demonstrate the charms of melodic substance to swing, while "Star-Crossed Lovers" from The Shakespearean Suite, is a tribute to alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges' sumptuous style.


Track Listing: Raincheck; Tonight I Shall Sleep; Angelica; I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart; It Don't Mean a Thing; Something To Live for; The Star Crossed Lovers; The Feeling of Jazz.

Personnel: Grant Stewart: saxophone; Tardo Hammer: piano; Paul Gill: bass; Joe Farnsworth: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Sharp Nine Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Rumba Con Flores" CD/LP/Track Review Rumba Con Flores
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: March 15, 2016
Read "Breaking Point" CD/LP/Track Review Breaking Point
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 10, 2016
Read "The Volume Surrounding The Task" CD/LP/Track Review The Volume Surrounding The Task
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 26, 2016
Read "Shapes" CD/LP/Track Review Shapes
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: August 24, 2016
Read "Hasta Karma" CD/LP/Track Review Hasta Karma
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: February 20, 2016
Read "Playing the 60s" CD/LP/Track Review Playing the 60s
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 19, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!