Saxophonist David Wise studied under the venerable Gary Bartz but has seemingly been listening to the likes of the later oeuvre of George Benson and maybe some David Sanborn too. No bad thing and the result is this self-produced debut album comprising predominantly self-penned compositions.
The album is fairly diverse inasmuch as not all the tracks are strictly jazz. For example the opener, "What More Could A Man Want?" is a supercharged soul number with a brass ensemble and vocals by Jason Joseph. The title track is sumptuously languid 12 bar blues and "Kol Nidre," a thoughtful, lugubrious dirge, based on the Aramaic prayer, features Wise on solo baritone.
The standard "Here's That Rainy Day" is given a conventional treatment and "Sylvia," "Lullaby" and "Home" (with special mention for Bruce Forman on guitar) are all dulcet ballads.
The closing two compositions are given vocal treatments by Wise himself. On "Life Is But A Song, Parts 1 & 2" he sings in unison to a melody played on tenor sax with a cello accompaniment sounding surprisingly fulsome. The final track, "Life Is But A Song, Part 3" is faster and funkier than its predecessor, but still uses the device of sax and vocals in unison. Both tracks are nearer to jazz rock but the catchy last number sounds a little Breckerish, which again is no bad thing.
Track Listing: What More Could A Man Want?; Sylvia; Here’s That Rainy Day; Home; Kol
Nidre; Till They Lay Me Down; Lullaby; Life Is But A Song, Parts 1 & 2; Life
Is But A Song, Part 3.
Personnel: David Wise: tenor and baritone saxophone, vocals on tracks 8 and 9;
Bruce Forman: guitar; Alex Frank: bass; Jake Reed: drums. Plus guests:
Jason Joseph, Laura Mace: vocals; Josh Smith: guitar; Glenn
Morrissette: alto saxophone; R.W. Enoch: tenor saxophone; Amy K.
Bormet: keyboard (track 1); Mitchell Cooper: trumpet (tracks 1 and 9);
Mikala Schmitz: cello (tracks 2 and 8).
I was first exposed to jazz as a child in Boston and at a Sun Ra concert.
I met Jaco Pastorius as a teenager in NYC.
The best show I ever attended was The Gap Band.
The first jazz record I bought was Heavy Weather.