Jim Snidero: Strings

Dan McClenaghan BY

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Jim Snidero: Strings
The initial recording of Jim Snidero's Strings ran into a roadblock. The session was scheduled at System Two Studios in Brooklyn, New York, on September 11th 2001. That was the date the world changed, with airplanes flying into buildings in New York City. Strings was postponed.

The music eventually came together in October and November of that year, and saw its release on Milestone Records in 2003. Now, in 2021, after nearly a decade out of print, the music re-emerges on a pristine-sounding reissue, with some subtle but beautifully-applied enrichments and a remastering, adding a new fullness to the sound via the additions of David Finck's bowed bass work on "Dawn," with an enhanced introduction to "Theme For Ernie," a spiffed up interlude section towards the end of "Forever Gone," and a new intro to "Ventura."

For those with an interest in the "jazz with strings" genre, this is a reissue which had to happen. The inclusion of this set is a must in any top "With Strings" recordings listing, alongside Charlie Parker With Strings (Mercury, 1950)—and its compilation reissue in 1995 on Verve Records—saxophonist Stan Getz' Focus (Verve, 1961) and sax man Art Pepper's Winter Moon (Galaxy Records, 1981).

Snidero, with the accompaniment of a top tier jazz trio which included pianist Renee Rosnes, bassist Paul Gill and drummer Billy Drummond, backed by a ten-piece string section, crafted a set which is as near to perfection as it gets, featuring six Snidero originals—including the three-part "River Suite," for New York's Hudson River—and a pair of well-chosen covers, Fred Lacey's "Theme For Ernie," made famous by saxophonist John Coltrane's version on Soultrane (Prestige, 1958), and the 1933 pop song by Jerry Livingstone, "It's The Talk Of the Town" to close out the show.

The string section gives off a sort of unapologetic and, at times, even in-your-face power, not unlike the sound which Eddie Sauter achieved in his arrangements on the previously mentioned Getz album, Focus. Snidero's sound on his horn puts him at the highest level among his fellow alto saxophonists of the twenty-first century, and his arrangements and concept and execution of this gorgeous set place him at the tops of those skill sets, too.

After Charlie Parker's previously mentioned mid-twentieth century breakout album featuring strings, the format has become fairly common. Everyone— especially saxophonists—seems to want to work with a string section. But nobody has done it better than Jim Snidero with Strings.

Track Listing

Slipping Away; River Suite: Dawn; River Suite: On The Bank; River Suite: Torrent; Theme For Ernie; Forever Gone; Ventura; It's The Talk Of The Town.


Jim Snidero: saxophone, alto; Renee Rosnes: piano; Paul Gill: bass, acoustic; Billy Drummond: drums; David Finck: bass, acoustic.

Additional Instrumentation

Jim Snidero:alto flute; Laura Seaton: concertmaster; Mark Feldman, Joyce Hamman, Cenovia Cummings; Paul Woodiel, Sue Lorentsen: violins; Ralph Ferris, Kenji Bunch: violas; Tomas Ulrich, Mary Wooten: cellos.

Album information

Title: Strings | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Savant Records

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