328

Don Braden: The New Hang

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
On the verge of what might be a definite breakthrough, tenor saxophonist Don Braden has been at the top of the list among better informed jazz followers, but he has just skirted below the radar of the average consumer. A superb trio of Criss Cross sides in the mid '90s led to a contract with RCA Records which unfortunately didn't deliver the bang for the buck that one would have hoped for. Now he's with another small independent label and the publicity machine is surely on the small side once again, but Braden has stepped up recently with some of his best work, of which The New Hang is easily one of his finest to date.

In an update of the tenor-organ combo, Braden brings on board trombonist Conrad Herwig, organist Kyle Koehler, and drummer Cecil Brooks III. Don't expect a sleepy jam session just by a perusal of the instruments on hand, though; these guys wail, and the emphasis is definitely on shuffles and backbeat numbers that ignite the solos of Braden and Herwig. As for Koehler, he's definitely more influenced by Larry Young than by Jimmy Smith and his own style is a tasteful mix of standard elements with his own forward-thinking sense of improvisation.

A number made popular by Chaka Khan in the '80s and first recast by Eric Alexander a few years back, "Through the Fire" sheds light on Braden's skills for adapting present-day pop numbers for jazz usage, much like what he's done in the past for his Contemporary Standards Ensemble. "Without a Song" moves at a healthy clip, with the lead horns wasting no time in getting their messages delivered. As a balladeer, Braden is at his most sublime in a duo performance with Koehler on "When I Fall In Love," the tune's extended coda yielding some technically dazzling tenor displays.

The rest of the program contains a variety of Braden originals—including an update of "Wish List"—which explore new horizons within the funky outlook of this very hip ensemble. If there's but one complaint it might be that drummer Cecil Brooks III tends to be on the busy side, yet his bristling approach does tend to spur on the soloists. In the final analysis, Braden's "new hang" is one that you will definitely want to revisit often, as it holds many rewards.


Track Listing: Through the Fire; Without a Song; When I Fall In Love; The Traveler; No Complaints; Wish List; Release; Mother's Wish; Code Blue; The New Hang.

Personnel: Don Braden: tenor sax; Conrad Herwig: trombone; Kyle Koehler: organ; Cecil Brooks III: drums.

Title: The New Hang | Year Released: 2004


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Way of It CD/LP/Track Review The Way of It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Tag Book CD/LP/Track Review Tag Book
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Hide Ye Idols CD/LP/Track Review Hide Ye Idols
by Troy Collins
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Spavati, Mozda Sanjati CD/LP/Track Review Spavati, Mozda Sanjati
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn CD/LP/Track Review Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Queen City Blues CD/LP/Track Review Queen City Blues
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 18, 2017
Read "Process And Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere" CD/LP/Track Review Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere
by Mike Jacobs
Published: July 15, 2017
Read "The Eastcote Studios Session" CD/LP/Track Review The Eastcote Studios Session
by John Eyles
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "Reach" CD/LP/Track Review Reach
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "Just Friends" CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 11, 2017
Read "Spavati, Mozda Sanjati" CD/LP/Track Review Spavati, Mozda Sanjati
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 19, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.

Please support out sponsor