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...

287

John Kocur: The Smoker

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
John Kocur's first album as a bandleader is an enjoyable and varied recording, showcasing not only the alto saxophonist's own emerging talent but also those of band mates Amy Bormet on piano, Oliver Albertini on bass and C.V. Dashiell III on drums.

Washington D.C.-based Kocur produced the album as well as composing all of the tunes. The compositions are mainly straight-ahead and clearly influenced by the playing of past masters such as Johnny Hodges and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, but they are not simply derivative and the ballads in particular display a maturity in writing and playing.

"The Touch of Her Hair" is a sax-led ballad that could have come straight from the American Songbook. Kocur's alto is emotive without becoming cloying, and he resists the temptation to overplay, keeping the lines simple and hence more effective. Despite the title of the four-movement "Japan Suite," there is no obvious oriental influence on these tracks: "Movement 2" is the funkiest tune on the CD, thanks in particular to Albertini and Dashiell's bass and drums, while "Movement 4" contains a short but powerful solo from Dashiell and some raucous alto from Kocur.

As soloists, all four band members prove themselves to have imagination as well as skill. Bormet's piano introduction on "Unanswered Questions" is especially noteworthy: a delicate and restrained solo that melds perfectly with Kocur's sax at the halfway point of the tune to create a duet that represents the high point of the album.

The quartet's ensemble playing is excellent throughout, although occasionally the production results in the rhythm section becoming rather too loud and intrusive—Albertini's bass on "Sheddin,'" for example. Overall, however, production quality is high. This young quartet of musicians has much to be proud of in this recording, which has confidence, inventiveness and flair.

Track Listing: Warrior's Call; Hope for a New Year; Running in the Rain; The Touch of Her Hair; Sheddin'; Independence Blues; Japan Suite (Movements 1-4); Fun Lovers.

Personnel: John Kocur: saxophone; Amy Bormet: piano; Oliver Albertini: bass; C.V. Dashiell III: drums.

Title: The Smoker | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop

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

Related Articles

Read Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981 Album Reviews
Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981
By John Sharpe
January 20, 2019
Read More Than One Thing Album Reviews
More Than One Thing
By Gareth Thompson
January 20, 2019
Read Wandering Monster Album Reviews
Wandering Monster
By Roger Farbey
January 20, 2019
Read Pattern Recognition Album Reviews
Pattern Recognition
By Chris M. Slawecki
January 20, 2019
Read Come And Stay With Me: The UK 45's 1964-1969 Album Reviews
Come And Stay With Me: The UK 45's 1964-1969
By Doug Collette
January 19, 2019
Read Beggars Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition Album Reviews
Beggars Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition
By Doug Collette
January 19, 2019
Read Circuits Album Reviews
Circuits
By Sammy Stein
January 19, 2019