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Virginia Mayhew: Sandan Shuffle

Jim Santella By

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Virginia Mayhew: Sandan Shuffle Karate requires discipline and hard work. So does effective musicianship.

Most of the martial arts require fast, aggressive motions that are accompanied by slower, more controlled moves. Sometimes, the hand must stop at precisely the right place or someone will get hurt. This requires constant practice.

So does playing the saxophone. And Virginia Mayhew does that very well. She also has a third degree black belt in karate (sandan). Her study of the martial arts and her study of the saxophone go hand in hand—in both areas, she learns to control her mind and body in order to achieve a goal. She works with others in complete harmony and puts in many hours of practice in order to get it right. Her working partners are required to put as much effort into their study as she does in her own.

Mayhew and her quartet interpret standards and originals on Sandan Shuffle with a straight-ahead approach, releasing emotional fire along the way and having a good time, too. She swings. Guitarist Kenny Wessel, bassist Harvie S and drummer Victor Jones ensure that the motion surrounding her falls into compliance. The blues runs through their performance, evoking deep feelings throughout. Mayhew's muscular tenor tone portrays the kind of confidence that says, "Yeah. She pushes hard with a powerful stream that walks the walk and talks the talk.

Tenderly and "Monterey Blues reveal a deep passion, while "In Walked Bud and "Sandan Shuffle exhibit the cocky kind of strut that has always made straight-ahead jazz strong. Like her applications in the study of karate, Mayhew has poured both power and finesse into her musical program, finding a proper balance. And that earns a third degree black belt for this highly recommended album.


Track Listing: Sandan Shuffle; Lets Fall in Love; Now I Know; Spring is Not Here; Jazz-like; I Thought You Loved Me; In Walked Bud; Tenderly; I Get Along Without You Very Well; Monterey Blues.

Personnel: Virginia Mayhew: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, guiro; Kenny Wessel: guitar; Harvie S: acoustic bass; Victor Yahya Jones: drums.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Renma Recordings | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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