279

Woody Witt Quintet with Randy Brecker: Square Peg, Round Hole

Woodrow Wilkins By

Sign in to view read count
Woody Witt Quintet with Randy Brecker: Square Peg, Round Hole At a time when a lot of new music sounds prefabricated, particularly pop and R&B, it's easy to understand why some people believe that artists are just going through the motions and not putting any feeling into them. However, anyone who feels that way about jazz hasn't heard the Woody Witt Quintet. The no-frills approach of Square Peg, Round Hole is most engaging.

A composer, performer and educator, Witt is a native of Omaha, Nebraska. He discovered his love for music when he was eight years old. Now based in Houston, Texas, Witt has performed with the Houston Symphony Exxon-Mobile Pops Series, backing such artists as Ray Charles, Kenny Rogers, and Tony Bennett. Witt has also judged at a number of regional jazz festivals, including those at the University of Houston, University of Texas, and McNeese State.

Witt released his first CD in 2002. His latest recording, with eight of nine tracks self-penned, sizzles from the first note. His musical expression is an example of why the tenor is perhaps the best member of the saxophone family as a lead or solo instrument. The baritone, alto, and soprano have their moments, but they don't hold a candle to the tenor for its emotional range.

The opening track, "Childlike, sets the stage with its lively rhythm. The song summons images of children on a playground; they may have an idea of what they want to play, but they make up a few of their own rules as they go. Trumpeter Randy Brecker takes point on the laid back "Song Without Words. On this, as well as the other tracks, pianist David Kikoski, drummer Art Hoenig, and bassist Johannes Weidenmueller keep the rhythm tight but also explore their own voices. They deviate from the structure just enough to give the feeling that they're improvising along with Brecker and Witt, but without becoming a distraction.

This is particularly evident on "Matching Game, an eleven-minute romp on the musical playground. Witt puts the tenor through some serious paces before giving way to Kikoski around the 3:40 mark. Brecker contributes his own solo before Hoenig sets up the energetic climax. One of the shorter selections is the lone Brecker composition, "Dirty Dogs, a happy-go-lucky song that again features Witt's tenor at its wailing best. This song, like much of the album, is a throwback to a time when the spirit of musicians playing just for the fun of it wasn't limited to live performances.

With a total running time of about 77 minutes, Square Peg, Round Hole is a jazz lover's dream. All nine songs are textbook examples of coloring outside the lines. Even the ballads show a great deal of the free-spiritedness that is evident in the more bubbly tracks. Witt, Brecker, and their sidemen deliver an album that exemplifies its title very well: a square peg of improvisation jamming its way into the round hole of contemporary recording.

Visit Woody Witt on the web.


Track Listing: Childlike; Song Without Words; Matching Game; Much More to Say (for James Williams); Before the Rain; Dirty Dogs; Under the Wire; Taking Her Sweet Time; Out of the Box.

Personnel: Woody Witt: tenor saxophone; Randy Brecker: trumpet; David Kikoski: piano; Ari Hoenig: drums; Johannes Weidenmueller: bass.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Apria Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "One" CD/LP/Track Review One
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 21, 2016
Read "In Denmark 1959-1960" CD/LP/Track Review In Denmark 1959-1960
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 18, 2016
Read "Madjafalao" CD/LP/Track Review Madjafalao
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 19, 2017
Read "Out Of The Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Out Of The Blue
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 15, 2016
Read "Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow" CD/LP/Track Review Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 16, 2016
Read "Anthology - Bigger Than Life" CD/LP/Track Review Anthology - Bigger Than Life
by Doug Collette
Published: December 24, 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!