Mark Colby is best known for performing with the Gerry Mulligan, Jaco Pastorius, Frank Sinatra, Maynard Ferguson, Bob James, Charlie Haden and Mose Allison. In the guise of studio musician, Colby is credited with over 2,000 commercials mostly in the Chicago market. In addition to this professional work, he has served as a member of the DePaul University Jazz Department since 1983. In his spare time, Colby has been able to record a certain brand of light jazz for Columbia, Best Records and Corridor Records.
The current Tenor Reference was recorded live in his Chicago backyard at the Jazz Showcase. The disc's title is derived from the new saxophone Colby is blowing, the Selmer Reference Tenor. Colby has long been a spokesperson for the company, highlighting the Selmer Mark VI. Fluent in most of the reeds, Mr. Colby concentrates exclusively on tenor here. And, "light jazz" is not exactly how I would describe the results. The recital opens with Victor Young's "Beautiful Love." The piece offers all members of Colby's experienced quartet to unwind.
Colby tips his tenor to Sonny Rollins on "My One and Only Love" and "Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise," though he performs them a bit more progressively than the master. Colby has the sweet breathy tone of Stan Getz with the muscle of Dexter Gordon. Coupled with those two is the intellect of a Michael Brecker or a Jerry Bergonzi, without the John Coltrane fixation.
Joined by longtime friends in the rhythm section, Colby puts on a tenor clinic, scanning styles and improvisational avenues, all in a straight-ahead, 21st Century fashion, very effectively.
Track Listing: Beautiful Love; Blues Of A Kind; My One And Only Love; Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise; Riley's Thang; Bloom's Room; Bar Room Ballad; Sabra. (Total Time: 73:53).
Personnel: Mark Colby-- tenor saxophone; Vince Maggio-- piano; Eric Hochberg-- bass; Bob Rummage-- drums; Rob Parton: trumpet.
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