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...

266

Nick Brignola: Things Ain't What They Used To Be: Last Set at Sweet Basil

R.J. DeLuke By

Sign in to view read count
Nick Brignola was one of the most robust baritone sax players and could burn with the best of them. Even though he usually took a back seat to Gerry Mulligan or Pepper Adams in popularity polls, he was starting to see more of the limelight before he died of cancer in 2002, drawing in more fans and critical acclaim (though he always had a decent share of both). A good example of what one would encounter in a club can be found on his latest Reservoir Music release, Things Ain’t What They Used to Be: Last Set at Sweet Basil (RSR CD 174), recorded in 1992. Nick is in fine form, not only on baritone, but also alto, soprano and clarinet. (He also had a fine tenor sound.) The record under consideration here is a followup to Live at Sweet Basil: First Set (RSD CD 125).

The opening strains of the title cut set the stage for the set, Nick blowing a hearty blues on the Ellington standard. Speaking of blues, the leader wails on soprano on “Blues for Phyllis.” “You Go To My Head” is done as a samba, with Brignola showing a bouncy, playful side. He was at home in any jazz style – a great soloist with interesting things to say. “In So Many Words” shows his sweet side, and “In Your Own Sweet Way” has the deep baritone caressing a ballad then taking the song into a mid-tempo adventure. At its most bluesy or most screaming, Brignola’s work is uplifting and exhilarating.

Pianist Mike Holober, who wrote three of the seven tunes on the album, is crisp and swinging throughout and the rhythm is held nicely by drummer, Dick Berk, a longtime friend of the sax man; and bassist rich Syracuse, a fellow Upstate New Yorker who often played with Brignola.

Seeing Brignola in concert was always a pleasure and he played strongly, unfaltering, right up until he bowed out because of ill health. He put his heart into each time, enjoying the music and the musicians he surrounded himself with. This live Sweet Basil set conveys that easily and naturally, like Brignola’s playing.


Track Listing: Things Ain

Personnel: Nick Brignola, baritone, alto, soprano saxophones, clarinet; Mike Holober, piano; Rich Syracuse, bass; Dick Berk, drums.

Title: Things Ain't What They Used To Be: Last Set at Sweet Basil | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Reservoir Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Mønk CD/LP/Track Review
Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018
Read The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Hidden Details CD/LP/Track Review
Hidden Details
by John Kelman
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Selective Coverage CD/LP/Track Review
Selective Coverage
by Jim Olin
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Fat Daddy CD/LP/Track Review
Fat Daddy
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Short Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Short Stories
by Gareth Thompson
Published: September 19, 2018
Read "Submerged" CD/LP/Track Review Submerged
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 9, 2017
Read "Stained Glass & Technicolor Grooves" CD/LP/Track Review Stained Glass & Technicolor Grooves
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 15, 2018
Read "Serenade for Horace" CD/LP/Track Review Serenade for Horace
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: October 11, 2017
Read "Hunters & Scavengers" CD/LP/Track Review Hunters & Scavengers
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 23, 2018
Read "The Chase" CD/LP/Track Review The Chase
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "A Humdrum Star" CD/LP/Track Review A Humdrum Star
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 13, 2018