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Walter Savage is another artist from San Francisco's large and active jazz community. A bassist of considerable talent, this album debuts him as a leader. The CD cover is a picture of a Savage. But the music is anything but brutish. The play list of compositions by Savage runs the gamut from mainstream jazz such as "Cah La La La La La" through the exotic "Thai Forest" to the very modern sounding "Morning Bird". It's this track as much as any, where Savage displays his virtuosity on bass taking a long solo, that instead of being boring is riveting. If a Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra were ever to be composed, Savage would be an ideal selection as the soloist. Humor is not forgotten with two versions of a swinging "Gotta Use the Bathroom". There are two versions, one instrumental and one vocal by Savage, who also whistles (shades of Elmo Tanner). Savage also vocalizes on other cuts, including the woeful saga of gambler "Timothy James" and the predicament of a driver who find himself with too many tickets bemoaning that the "only ticket he doesn't have is the winning lottery ticket."
Savage's group has the sound that was familiar during the 1960's with small groups lead by James Mobley, Johnny Griffin, Bobby Timmons and other talented purveyors of the bop style of that time. Most of the solos are taken by Savage although Al Bent's trombone and Bob Johnson's soprano sax are prominent on "Thai Forest".
Despite it's menacing title and cover, Soothes the Savage Beast is almost an hour of well written compositions engagingly played by a group of musicians who clearly know what they're doing.
Track Listing: Cah La La La La La; Gotta Use the Bathroom (vocal); Thai Forest; Timothy James*; The Spirit Inside You; Tickets*; Gotta Use the Bathroom (instr.); Just Fine with Me; Soothes the Savage Beast; Morning Bird
Personnel: Walter Savage - Bass ; Leonard Thompson - Piano; Ron Marabuto - Drums; Bob Johnson - Saxes Don Beck - Trumpet; Al Bent - Trombone; Carla Kaufman - Bass*
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.