145

Virginia Mayhew: Sandan Shuffle

By

Sign in to view read count
Virginia Mayhew: Sandan Shuffle I had a chance to see Virginia Mayhew a few years ago in a sideman gig where she appeared as part of an all-femme quintet backing a singer. From memory, the other musicians were Allison Miller, Kendra Shank and Roberta Picket. My recollection of Mayhew's performance was that she was clearly the most pressing reason to be there. She displayed strong and melodic playing on tenor sax, plus a few numbers on soprano sax. There was nothing tentative about Mayhew's presentation; a sure-footed style cast her into a field of many better-known saxophonists. She also performed "Montererey Blues," a piece that's included on this album.

Virginia Mayhew's fifth album features a new group and a change of pace for the saxophonist. The cover photo and liners draw similarities between her training and discipline in karate and music. Mayhew is a third-level black belt (Sandan) and named the title composition to reflect this ("Sandan Shuffle"). Mayhew is a transplanted San Franciscan who has been active and living in New York since 1987 as both a leader and sideman.

Mayhew's quartet in a piano-less one, with guitarist Kenny Wessel, veteran bassist Harvie S and drummer Victor "Yahya" Jones. The songs and set list make a varied and interesting combination. While "Sandan Shuffle" has a quirky hard bop feel and fully establishes Mayhew's chops on tenor sax, the following Arlen/Kohler piece "Let's Fall In Love" is reinvented in an attractive calypso/cha cha mode (calling Sonny Rollins West Indian fans!) that I found to be irresistible. Kenny Wessel's guitar is right down the middle on these tracks, with good mainstream solos and comping. Mayhew picks up the soprano sax on "Spring Is Not Here" and the Sinatra-associated ballad "I Get Along Without You Very Well," and she has a delivery that wants to make you here more of it.

On "Jazz-like," Wessel adapts a harder edge (a la Rosenwinkel or Scofield) to match Mayhew's tenor sax. The group adapts the Thelonious Monk classic "In Walked Bud" into a post-Millennium funk groove, with Jones playing a backbeat. I can't be sure if this was meant to reflect an "In Hip-hopped Bud" vibe, but it's a questionable additon. Otherwise, "Tenderly," done as a mid-tempo blues, is anything but what the title suggests—the tune is well presented, but not appropriate to the song's lyrics.

All in all, Sandan Shuffle is stimulating and a pleasure to hear.


Track Listing: Sandan Shuffle; Let's Fall In Love; Now I Know; Spring Is Not Here; Jazz-Like; I Thought You Loved Me; In Walked Bud; Tenderlly; I Get Along Without You Very Well; Monterey Blues.

Personnel: Virginia Mayhew: tenor and soprano sax; Kenny Wessel: guitar; Harvie S: bass; Victor "Yahya" Jones: drums.

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


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Ena / One" CD/LP/Track Review Ena / One
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 26, 2016
Read "Another Day in Fucking Paradise" CD/LP/Track Review Another Day in Fucking Paradise
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 6, 2016
Read "Magia" CD/LP/Track Review Magia
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 6, 2016
Read "I Long To See You" CD/LP/Track Review I Long To See You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 6, 2016
Read "Song of the Free Will" CD/LP/Track Review Song of the Free Will
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 16, 2016
Read "Preston Glasgow Lowe" CD/LP/Track Review Preston Glasgow Lowe
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 16, 2016

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!