Revered saxophonist Eric Person parlays God's message via the jazz vernacular, his spiritual ascension and unbridled fortitude equating to one of the finest modern jazz outings of 2012. Here, Person interlinks the Duke Ellington/Charles Mingus connection, branded by his personalization of the jazz idiom, teeming with impressive compositions and inspiring arrangements.
Tinted by a little big band sound, bop, and jaunty soloing extravaganzas by the thirteen-piece ensemble, the musicians wind down a few notches on ""Never Far From His Grace." It's a strikingly beautiful composition rooted on a simple, sublime melody line amid flowing evocative and meditative qualities.
Equal parts music therapy, prayer, and spiritually charged jazz balladry, Person and baritone saxophonist Scott Robinson render contrasting, conversational dialogues, circular phrasings and the horn section's multilayered toppings. Yet the melodically rich content does not surge towards a sugary theme; instead, it's more about prismatic hues and a pinnacle of lucidly executed movements. Person raises the pitch in spots, but the title "Never Far From His Grace," says it all. His strong faith and unyielding focus seeds a production that intimates the miracle powers of jazz.
Personnel: Eric Person: alto and soprano saxophones, flute; Craig Bailey: alto saxophone, flute; Patience Higgins: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Sylvester “Sly” Scott: tenor saxophone, flute; Scott Robinson: baritone saxophone; James Zollar: trumpet, flugelhorn; Duane Edwards: trumpet, flugelhorn; Curtis Hasselbring: trombone; Isrea Butler: trombone, bass trombone; Bryan Carrott: vibraphone; Adam Klipple: piano; Adam Armstrong: bass, electric bass; Shinnosuke Takahashi: drums.