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Ian Hendrickson-Smith: The Lowdown

Pierre Giroux By

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Ian Hendrickson-Smith: The Lowdown
Those who thought that the re-emergence of vinyl records might be a passing fad as a saleable medium in this era of CDs, streaming and MP3 downloads, are proving to be wrong. The latest sales figures produced by RIAA for the first half of this year show vinyl sales at $232 million compared to CD sales at $130 million. This is the the first time in 34 years that this happened.

So with the wind in his sales (sic), the determined Canadian entrepreneur and musician Cory Weeds has decided to release The Lowdown in a world wide Limited Edition of 750 copies in a gatefold style 180 gram vinyl recording, as part of a general release in the other formats.

Ian Hendrickson-Smith was born in New Orleans and began his professional musical career in 1996. He was worked with many 'A' listers such as Lady Gaga, Bob Dylan, U2 among others, capturing some of that experience in a bottle for future use. His regular gig has been as a member of The Tonight Show Band, The Roots. He and Cory Weeds have known each other since the early 2000's and have previously recorded together, so this is not new territory for them.

Side One is all original compositions by Ian Hendrickson-Smith, starting with the title track "The Lowdown." This is a funky bluesy offering lead by Hendrickson-Smith's alto sax in a mellow, bubbling style. Weeds' tenor is adaptive and companionable, and he slides into the groove effortlessly. The rhythm section of pianist Rick Germanson, bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth play with ease and assurance, all the while adding muscular support to the front line. The other two tracks are "Savin' Up" and "10:30," and while they may not cut a channel in one's psyche, they are full-bodied compositions brimming with self assurance, which is picked up by the melodious flow of the band.

Side Two is all covers, including "Nancy (With the Laughing Face)," "I Should Care" and Billie Holiday's "Don't Explain." Pianist David Hazeltine wrote the arrangement on "I Should Care" which has an interesting musical architecture. He provides the foundation for both Hendrickson-Smith and Weeds as they glide around on their instruments connecting at various corners throughout the number. Pianist Germanson is offered solo space to deliver with some robust block chords. Holiday's "Don't Explain" has been described as "a hymn to forgiveness for male infidelity. The band locks into a minor mood melodic line. Both saxophonists deliver the story with soulful comfort.

The album was recorded at Rudy Van Gelder's Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey by Maureen Sickler the old fashioned way: no headphones, no overdubbing, no booths. No kidding.

Track Listing

Side One: The Lowdown; Savin' Up; 10:30 Side Two: Nancy ( With The Laughing Face); I Should Care; Don't Explain.

Personnel

Ian Hendrickson-Smith: saxophone, alto; Cory Weeds: saxophone, alto; Rick Germanson: piano; John Webber: bass, acoustic; Joe Farnsworth: drums.

Album information

Title: The Lowdown | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Cellar Live

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