266

Saxlife Plays Yes: Total Sax Retain

By

Sign in to view read count
Anyone who's ever collected crappy bootlegs of a favorite band will understand the illogical passion at the core of this tribute to Yes. SF Bay Area saxophonist with funkateers Ten Ton Chicken has transformed himself into a one-man sax quartet, charting out and playing all the parts of tenor, soprano, alto, and baritone (and on the gorgeous "We Have Heaven," a baritone floating on a chorus of altos).

Smeltz possesses the gutbucket throatiness of '50s jump blues but harnesses it to the beautiful, intersecting lines of multiple sax tones that evoke memories of David Murray, Arthur Blythe, Von Freeman and other horn legends. He's really that good.

This album is the product of six years of working and reworking the material, and the end product exposes hitherto unseen possibilities in these compositions. "Hovian Fantasy" begins with a saunter down a New Orleans alley and then attacks Steve Howe's folk roots in a medley that includes "Clap" and "The Ancient." What jumps out at one is how breathlessly pretty this music is when handled by Smeltz, whose only collaborators are brother George Smeltz on some unobtrusive drumming and fellow TTC member Gary Morrell, who plays some insightful guitar on "And You And I," which shines here as a song of pure joy, the inarticulate speech of flowers and streams.

Yes should be flattered and their fans will be pleased for a whole host of reasons by this lovingly crafted gem.


Track Listing: We Have Heaven; Turn of the Century; Hovian Fantasy (Clap-Arada-Mood For A Day-The Ancient-Sound Chaser-Clap); And You And I; The Big Medley (To Be Over-Future Times-Heart of the Sunrise-Then-Southside of the Sky-To Be Over)

Personnel: Jamison Smeltz - all saxes, George Smeltz - drums, Gary Morrell - guitar & mandolin

Title: Total Sax Retain | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Smeltz Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Rev CD/LP/Track Review Rev
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Quinsin Nachoff's Ethereal Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Quinsin Nachoff's Ethereal Trio
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 19, 2017
Read "Inspired" CD/LP/Track Review Inspired
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "Hauptbahnhof" CD/LP/Track Review Hauptbahnhof
by Anthony Shaw
Published: April 4, 2017
Read "Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs" CD/LP/Track Review Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 23, 2017
Read "Aspiration" CD/LP/Track Review Aspiration
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: September 15, 2017
Read "Ha Noi Duo" CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.