All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

186

Ian Hendrickson-Smith: Still Smokin'

By

Sign in to view read count
As with his fellow neo-bopper, tenorist Eric Alexander, New Orleans-bred alto man Ian Hendrickson-Smith isn't exactly breaking acres of new ground stylistically. But like Alexander, he remains an unquestionable master of the genre; at a mere 31 years of age, Hendrickson-Smith, who doubles on flute, is the possessor of a world-weary, tender tone many players his senior would kill for (the soft caress of Art Pepper comes to mind.)

For the most part, Still Smokin', Hendrickson-Smith's second release as a leader (after 2003's Up in Smoke!, also cut live at New York club Smoke), is superb, swinging stuff, played and recorded equally well. And here he's backed by an absolute battleship of a band, comprised of top New Yorkers like guitarist Peter Bernstein, pianist David Hazeltine, drummer Joe Strasser, bassist Peter Washington, and trumpeter Ryan Kisor.

Blessed with such an endearing tone, it's no surprise that Hendrickson-Smith typically fares better on ballads than on up-tempo pieces, and the set is stocked accordingly with intimate standards: "I Wish You Love," "Memories of You," "I Can't Get Started." And while funk fests like the original "Jacob's Crib" (with a spiky, Dizzed-out solo by Kisor) and Kenny Dorham's "San Francisco Beat" do give Strasser room to show off his fine New Orleans shuffling, they work best as interludes to the program's exceptional balladry rather than as stand-alone numbers.

Hendrickson-Smith's roots certainly run deep, and he's fond of referencing the immortals. On the Sonny Rollins (think "St. Thomas") -inspired version of "Smile," he chucks in a few bytes of Miles' "Bye Bye Blackbird," while the disc's standout tune, a neck-twisting, fast-bop-meets-slow-n'-moody arrangement of "Love For Sale," namechecks "Hot House."

Speaking of Bird, the title of the remaining Hendrickson-Smith original here, "Sparrow's Flight," may lead one to expect further Charlie Parker homage — turns out it's more of a Trane tribute, with Hazeltine's crystalline, McCoy Tynerish vamps creating a deep canvas for Bernstein's comping and some ace solos by the leader and Kisor.

Besides the obvious allusion to Hendrickson-Smith's venue of choice, there are surely enough heated moments to justify the title of Still Smokin'. But for this warm and cozy date, we lean more toward the cool image of scattered blue wisps, holding court just above our martini glasses. Nice.

Track Listing: 1- I Wish You Love (Beach/Trenet) / 2- Love For Sale (Porter) / 3- Memories of You (Blake/Razaff) / 4- Jacob's Crib (Hendrickson-Smith) / 5- Sparrow's Flight (Hendrickson-Smith) / 6- Ian's Bossa (Hazeltine) / 7- I Can't Get Started (Duke/Gershwin) / 8- Smile (Chaplin) / 9- San Francisco Beat (Dorham)

Personnel: Ian Hendrickson-Smith: alto saxophone, flute; Ryan Kisor: trumpet; David Hazeltine: piano; Peter Bernstein: guitar; Peter Washington: bass; Joe Strasser: drums

Title: Still Smokin' | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Sharp Nine Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Kinship CD/LP/Track Review
Kinship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2018
Read Ask For Chaos CD/LP/Track Review
Ask For Chaos
by Gareth Thompson
Published: August 18, 2018
Read Homage to a Dreamer CD/LP/Track Review
Homage to a Dreamer
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 18, 2018
Read Live At Cafe Amores CD/LP/Track Review
Live At Cafe Amores
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2018
Read Passion Reverence Transcendence CD/LP/Track Review
Passion Reverence Transcendence
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: August 17, 2018
Read Inner Voice CD/LP/Track Review
Inner Voice
by Don Phipps
Published: August 17, 2018
Read "2" CD/LP/Track Review 2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 19, 2017
Read "Spiderwebmandala" CD/LP/Track Review Spiderwebmandala
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 12, 2018
Read "Weather Walker" CD/LP/Track Review Weather Walker
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 11, 2018
Read "Audacity" CD/LP/Track Review Audacity
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: June 30, 2018
Read "Out of the Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Out of the Blues
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: July 29, 2018
Read "Sextet (Parker) 1993" CD/LP/Track Review Sextet (Parker) 1993
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 19, 2018