Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Ian Hendrickson-Smith: The Lowdown

6

Ian Hendrickson-Smith: The Lowdown

By

Sign in to view read count
Ian Hendrickson-Smith: The Lowdown
American alto saxophonist Ian Hendrickson-Smith and Canadian tenor saxophonist Cory Weeds had been gigging together for almost two decades, mostly in Canada, but hadn't preserved any of their encounters on record until Hendrickson-Smith invited his companion to join him for a studio date in November 2019 at the renowned Rudy Van Gelder Studios in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. The album was planned as a tribute to drummer Lawrence Leathers who died in June of that year, age thirty-seven. Leathers' nickname was "Lo," hence the album's title, The Lowdown (on Weeds' Cellar Music label).

When it comes to front-line partners, Hendrickson-Smith couldn't have fared much better. Weeds' tenor is weighty and strong, a perfect complement to Hendrickson-Smith's bright and bluesy alto. And when it comes to improvisation, neither one is ever at a loss for a resourceful and engaging turn of phrase. Rounding out the impressive quintet are Wisconsin-bred, New York-based pianist Rick Germanson alongside bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth, a pair of rhythmic dynamos who are so busy on the New York scene and have enhanced so many recordings that their names should be well known to attentive jazz fans.

Hendrickson-Smith wrote the album's title song and opening number and, if it seems mournful and blues-drenched, that is by design. Leathers' death, Hendrickson-Smith writes, "leaves a terrible void in all of us who were lucky enough to know him." The cheerless melody and Germanson's deft filigrees lead to ardent solos by Hendrickson-Smith and Weeds as Webber and Farnsworth lay the sturdy groundwork, as they do on every selection. The session, as it turns out, is divided almost evenly in halves, with two more compositions by Hendrickson-Smith, the mid-tempo charmer "Savin' Up" and impetuous "10:30," preceding a trio of melodious standards, "Nancy (With the Laughing Face"), "I Should Care" and "Don't Explain."

Hendrickson-Smith and Weeds are on their game from fore to aft and stem to starboard, as is their compliant rhythm section. Would that there were more of this enticing music to relish, as the session clocks in at a modest forty-three minutes. That is, however, the sole drawback in an otherwise splendid, congenial and well-recorded album whose performance is exemplary.

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
John Webber
bass, acoustic

Album information

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


Comments

Tags


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

More

Precipice
Ill Considered
My Prophet
Oded Tzur
Hearts of Palm
Eden Har-Gil

Popular

For Real!
Hampton Hawes
My Prophet
Oded Tzur
Nimble Digits
Geoff Stradling
Time Again
Koppel, Blade, Koppel

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.