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...

36

The Sugar Hill Trio: The Drive

Roger Farbey By

Sign in to view read count
Groups lacking a chordal instrument sometimes face inherent challenges especially when playing tunes from the Great American Songbook. That said, Sonny Rollins and Albert Ayler managed to produce classic recordings with this configuration. Think of Way Out West or Spiritual Unity. Whilst The Sugar Hill Trio isn't quite in that illustrious league, this unit gets pretty close and the resultant music is, in many ways, a synthesis of those famous exemplars.

Eight of the eleven numbers on the album are standards with the remaining three composed by saxophonist Christian Torkewitz. Opening with Gigi Gryce's "Minority" is a good idea as it's a lively, memorable and well executed number. Torkewitz's "Open Circle" is a brisk paced composition also notable for Austin Walker's crisp drumming. A similarly fast pace is maintained on Coltrane's "Spiral" and here Leon Boykins on bass is particularly outstanding. Boykins plays bass on seven numbers whilst Dylan Shamat covers the other four.

Torkewitz's second composition the ballad "Sunbeams," benefits from his fine flute work whilst "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes" is a breezy Rollins-esque workout and unsurprisingly, was recorded by the master on his 1962 album What's New?. Torkewitz returns to the flute on Oliver Nelson's "The Drive" and proves he can deploy the instrument to great effect, even at near-breakneck speed.

Things slow down for Harry Warren's "You're My Everything" with Torkewitz evincing an elegant rendition of the melody. "Handles," the final number composed by the tenorist, begins with a confident head and includes an excellent pizzicato bass solo form Dylan Shamat. Thelonius Monk's "Ask Me Now" is a good example of how the trio's use of space is put to great effect with the soulful sax seductively teasing out the melody.

The mood changes again with Jimmy Van Heusen's "Like Someone In Love" and offers Austin Walker a chance to solo with surgical precision. The set closes with "Theme For Basie" where the trio demonstrates that it can work as well in tight formation as it does freely. This trio has talent and ability and has produced an album remarkably rich in tonal and rhythmic variety.

Track Listing: Minority; Open Circle; Spiral; Sunbeams; The Night Has A Thousand Eyes; The Drive; You're My Everything; Handles; Ask Me Now; Like Someone in Love; Theme for Basie.

Personnel: Christian Torkewitz: tenor saxophone, flute; Austin Walker: drums; Leon Boykins: bass (tracks 1,2,3,4,5,6,11); Dylan Shamat: bass (tracks 7,8,9,10).

Title: The Drive | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Runner in the Rain Album Reviews
Runner in the Rain
By Jack Bowers
January 22, 2019
Read Driftglass Album Reviews
Driftglass
By Chris May
January 22, 2019
Read Pure Magic Album Reviews
Pure Magic
By Mark Sullivan
January 22, 2019
Read Vera Album Reviews
Vera
By Jerome Wilson
January 22, 2019
Read Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz Album Reviews
Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz
By Dan McClenaghan
January 21, 2019
Read The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two Album Reviews
The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two
By Victor L. Schermer
January 21, 2019
Read Mesophase Album Reviews
Mesophase
By Glenn Astarita
January 21, 2019