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The most appealing thing about Hadley Caliman, save for his very eloquent name, is his equally eloquent and understated tenor saxophone playing. Firmly in a post-John Coltrane context, Caliman plays a virile and muscular tenor saxophone whose tone compels because of its carefully crafted rough edges. Straight Ahead follows up his 2008 Origin release Gratitude.
Caliman's song selection begins with his '60s original "Cigar Eddie," a hard bop scone smelling of scotch and cigarette smoke. Caliman and trumpeter Thomas Marriott summon a Lee MorganBenny Golson vibe as deep as the Grand Canyon and wide as Caliman's broad, raspy tone. He spins a Latin vibe through the majority of Straight Ahead, most clearly manifested on the Thomas Marriott original "Cathlamet" and Lee Morgan's "Totem Pole."
Caliman achieves a grand after-hours milieu on the ballads "You Leave Me Breathless" and "Lush Life." Caliman's quintet is responsive to his needs and he returns the favor by sharing his solo space with Marriott and pianist Eric Verlinde. Caliman is one of those rare gems put in a safe place and forgotten about until rediscovery, leading to the hope of hearing more from this fine saxophonist.
Track Listing: Cigar Eddie; Rapture; You Leave Me Breathless; Cathlamet; Blues for PT; Lush Life; Totem Pole; The Night Has a Thousand Eyes.
Personnel: Hadley Caliman: tenor saxophone; Thomas Marriott: trumpet; Eric Verlinde: piano; Phil Sparks: bass; Matt Jorgensen: drums.
I was first exposed to jazz while learning to play chess with my uncles. They would play smooth jazz, and then switch up to more standard types of jazz. But, when they played Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, I was
hooked and I haven't looked back.