Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

99

Howard Leshaw: Shadow Song

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
In Shadow Song, Howard Leshaw has created a finely balanced disc of originals. His saxophone sound, which is very pure and bit on the thin side, has a soft edge with the hint of vibrato at the end of a phrase; it's seductive, but not overtly so.

The swing of "Sayief" sits so easily in the groove that it can easily swallow you up and float you away. This is not something that can be learned, but must be felt. This applies not only to Leshaw, but the rest of the band: Jon Davis (piano), Paul Gabrielson (bass) and Dean Rickard (drums) who make up a quartet that is totally in sync. Neal Smith's Some Of My Favorite Songs Are... (NASMusic, 2006) is another good example of finding that pocket.

After a light Brazilian gem in "Sirirat," we enter into the solid swing of "Jade." The delightful melody, although it has a standard structure, floats over the light drums and walking bass. Davis takes off and makes the most of it, playing neither too much nor too little. He knows when to take a breath and to leave some space; he is talking to us. Leshaw's answer is also precisely on the mark, making every note count, communicating straight from the heart.

"Flower" starts out as one big mystery, hinting at a ballad perhaps, but after about a minute it changes into a deep blues. Here, Leshaw sounds for all the world like Charles Lloyd in the way he returns to the same note many times and slides up to others in order to vocalize through his saxophone. Davis also makes a showing here, albeit on the more modern, say, McCoy Tyner side of the blues, contrasting with the leader's voice.

Many times the tune that ends up as the title tune for the album is the one nearest to the heart of the leader. "Shadow Song" also evokes Lloyd in its wonderful introductory invocation of the spirit, before turning into a lightly swinging Latin rhythm. The feeling of the tune is one of openness, the spreading of wings, and the joy of doing what one loves.

Shadow Song is a terrific album that deserves a wide hearing. Leshaw and his bandmates are deep musicians who happen to play in a language that is easily understood but which is hardly simplistic. Simply marvelous.

Track Listing: Sayief; Sirirat; Jade; Flower; Buckle's Waltz; Siempre Lulu; Shadow Song

Personnel: Howard Leshaw: tenor saxophone; Jon Davis: piano; Paul Gabrielson: bass; Dean Rickard: drums

Title: Shadow Song | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Eifie


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Acknowledgement CD/LP/Track Review Acknowledgement
by Don Phipps
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Lessons And Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Child in Me CD/LP/Track Review The Child in Me
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Way Home CD/LP/Track Review The Way Home
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Shadow Work CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Veterans of Jazz CD/LP/Track Review Veterans of Jazz
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "Aspiration" CD/LP/Track Review Aspiration
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 5, 2017
Read "Shifting Borders" CD/LP/Track Review Shifting Borders
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 5, 2017
Read "Unnatural  Events" CD/LP/Track Review Unnatural Events
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Saluting Sgt. Pepper" CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "A Multitude of Angels" CD/LP/Track Review A Multitude of Angels
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Live At the Stone" CD/LP/Track Review Live At the Stone
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 29, 2016

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!

Please support out sponsor