All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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...

4

The Chad Eby Quartet: The Sweet Shel Suite

Nicholas F. Mondello By

Sign in to view read count
For those who might not know him from his most famous written works, "The Giving Tree" and "Light in the Attic," or from his music, Johnny Cash's hit, "A Boy Named Sue," poet, cartoonist, playwright and Grammy®-winning musician, Shel Silverstein was about as unique and talented an artist as they come. Ironically, some of his best work was first published in a magazine definitely not for kids—Playboy. With The Sweet Shel Suite, saxophonist Chad Eby pays artist-to-artist tribute, leading a slick piano-less quartet over tunes inspired by Shel's poesy.

The recording delivers nine Eby original compositions, each of which is inspired by a particular Silverstein poem. Throughout, the musical stylings of the leader and his team work in perfect symmetry with the poetic concept. "Lester (The Wish-Waster)" a rather Monk-ish, strolling theme (shading Lester Young's "Lady Be Good" and Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments") launches the date with some slick soloing by both Eby and firebrand trumpeter, Brandon Lee. Both frontliners work brotherly with the fine underpinning support of Steve Haines and Daniel Faust . And, both Eby and Lee slyly acknowledge their roots with a "just for a kick" well-worn Bop lick.

Eby, who has a long recording, performance and jazz education resume, has the perfect compositional and improvisational approach here. He plays with a slick modern style, terrific energy ("Ourchestra," "Ickle Me, Tickle Me, Too") and, as you might expect in this realm—humor. His are thoughtful, angular improvisational nuggets which flow endlessly, resulting in surprises galore. Partner Lee buys in completely into the approach with a robust, engaging sound and an improvisational flair vaguely reminiscent of Booker Little. The sentimental ballad, "Years from Now, When I'm Gone" (introed beautifully by Haines) and "Masks" (with blues colorings from Eby) are textural gems. "Falling Up" is an Art Blakey-esque inside-out Hard Bop effort with Eby's sax and Lee's trumpet blowing heat. "The Dance of the Shoes" gives Faust a "Cute"-like showcase to superbly dance with Eby's soprano and Lee's muted horn.

While Silverstein's works were threaded with endearing themes and classic ideas a la Aesop, the musical material and performances here stand brilliantly on their own. The Sweet Shel Suite is as intelligent, adult, involving and imaginative as it gets. It's quite apparent that there's plenty of light in Eby and his playmates' "attic."

Track Listing: Lester (The Wish-Waster); The Long Haired Boy; Ourchestra; Years From Now,When I'm Gone; Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me, Too; Masks; Falling Up; The Clock Man; The Dance of the Shoes.

Personnel: Chad Eby: saxophones; Brandon Lee: trumpet; Steve Haines: bass; Daniel Faust: drums

Title: The Sweet Shel Suite | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Fearless And Kind CD/LP/Track Review
Fearless And Kind
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read 25th Anniversary Project CD/LP/Track Review
25th Anniversary Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Any Day Now CD/LP/Track Review
Any Day Now
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Adrift CD/LP/Track Review
Adrift
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Folkjazz from Finland CD/LP/Track Review
Folkjazz from Finland
by Anthony Shaw
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Circulate Susanna CD/LP/Track Review
Circulate Susanna
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 13, 2018
Read "Return of Robert Dickson" CD/LP/Track Review Return of Robert Dickson
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 30, 2017
Read "Orientation" CD/LP/Track Review Orientation
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 18, 2018
Read "Fearless And Kind" CD/LP/Track Review Fearless And Kind
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read "Vanished Gardens" CD/LP/Track Review Vanished Gardens
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 10, 2018
Read "Playmates" CD/LP/Track Review Playmates
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 14, 2018
Read "Some Other Time/Slow Café" CD/LP/Track Review Some Other Time/Slow Café
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 28, 2017