Chicago-based performer and jazz educator, Ted Hogarth, is adept at all the single reed instruments, specializing in the baritone sax and bass clarinet, al la one of his famous predecessors, Harry Carney, who pioneered the use of the bass clarinet in an orchestral setting. Hogarth has regularly performed with a number of high-level jazz artists such as Charlie Haden, Willie Pickens and Von Freeman. On this his first album as a leader he has taken a quartet into the studio to produce a play list of standard and jazz classics mixed with Hogarth originals resulting in an engaging 70 plus minutes of engrossing, intelligent execution of the art of jazz music performing. Not only is the play list a good mix, but the playing is amply versatile to meet the challenge of the musical program. Hogarth takes a light, lyrical approach to both instruments, avoiding any heaviness especially in playing the baritone sax. Listen to his melodic, buoyant rhapsodizing with the big horn on "They Can't Take That Away from Me", where his principal play mate is Kevin Cole on piano. Hogarth's work on this tune resembles the cool Gerry Mulligan approach to the instrument. He also skillfully captures the haunting, lush timbre of the bass clarinet on several tunes, but none better than on "Ghost of a Chance" where he gets expert and sympathetic help from guitarist Neal Alger, who is active throughout the set. The lovely "Waltzing Through My Mind" stands out among a musically charming and absorbing set of originals. Most tracks lean toward the ballad side, often inventive and introspective, but always showing respect for melody. One of the cuts where matters liven up a little is on another original, "Rhythm Thang" recalling Thelonious Monk's tune with that similar title. Steps Taken is a fine opening CD for this talented instrumentalist/composer. It's a session that allows the listener plenty of opportunity to sit back and fully digest and enjoy what he/she is hearing. No frenetic fireworks need apply here. Hopefully, we'll be hearing more from him in the not too distant future.
Track Listing: The Song Is You; Waltzing Through My Mind; Pure Imagination; Rhythm Thang; Laura; Steps Taken; Morning Glory; Ghost of a Chance; Hopeful Samba; Tenderly; Three in One; Harbinger; They Can't Take That Away from Me
Personnel: Ted Hogarth - Baritone Sax/Bass Clarinet; Neal Alger - Guitar; Tom Knific - Bass; Darren Scorza - Drums/Percussion; Kevin Cole - Piano
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.