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Jim Snidero: Strings

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Jim Snidero: Strings
Another saxophonist with strings. Ever since Charlie Parker first took the plunge in 1950, a goodly number of disciples has followed suit. Alto player Jim Snidero's deep dive, Strings, was actually recorded two decades ago, in 2001, and released to widespread acclaim on Milestone Records. The remastered edition, on Savant Records, is even better, thanks to enhanced sound and arco bass parts that breathe new life into Snidero's engaging compositions (he wrote and arranged every number save the lone standard, "It's the Talk of the Town," which wraps up the session).

Besides the eleven-member string section, Snidero is abetted by a splendid core group comprised of pianist Renee Rosnes, bassist Paul Gill and drummer Billy Drummond. They play their roles well, adding rhythmic weight to Snidero's airy solos while letting the strings have their say. Snidero, meanwhile, relies on his creative expertise to produce themes that are lovely and engaging, starting with the buoyant "Slipping Away" and including the picturesque three-movement "River Suite," an homage to the Hudson River, which flows past Snidero's New York base. The scenario slows perceptively after that, with the ballads "Theme for Ernie" and "Forever Gone" preceding the more rhythmic, Latin-infused "Ventura" before "Talk of the Town" re-establishes the ballad framework.

Snidero, whose sound on alto is gorgeous, leads with his main axe most of the way, moving to flute (on which he also excels) for "On the Bank," the gossamer second movement of the "River Suite." The third movement, "Torrent," whose pizzicato opening calls to mind the similar movement in Tchaikovsky's monumental Symphony No. 4, is an ebullient exercise in which Snidero shows his technical mastery while Drummond weighs in with some inspired timekeeping that underscores an ardent solo by an unnamed violinist. For someone who writes that he was "basically starting from scratch," Snidero, as it turns out, is a superb writer for strings, making sure they are indispensable but never intrusive (and well- conducted by fellow saxophonist Walt Weiskopf). And while Snidero's is the main solo voice, Rosnes has a few sparkling turns as well, most notably on "Torrent" and "Ventura."

Even though the album is ballad-heavy, as one might expect from a string-centered session, Snidero's compositions and arrangements are so adept and pleasing that they more than atone for the absence of fireworks. For those who favor beauty over bombast, an almost hour-long feast for the ears and heart.

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.

Personnel

Jim Snidero
saxophone, alto
Paul Gill
bass, acoustic
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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