Philadelphia, Pa. has been producing fine prizefighters, jazz musicians, and scrumptious cheesesteaks for years! And while we focus our attention to the arts, saxophonist/composer/educator Ben Schachter represents yet another impressive exponent of Philly’s long standing lineage of musicians who often possess signature sounds and styles. - A characteristic which is significant when considering the glut of CDs being released by folks with marginal talent, who can afford a medium priced digital mixer/recorder, a few decent mic’s and do-it-yourself mastering software.
Schachter’s broad toned, sweeping tenor sax lines come to prominence on Trio of Many, as the artist receives exemplary support from bassist Micah Jones and drummer Erik Johnson while renowned guitarist and fellow Philadelphian, Jef Lee Johnson joins for a dual bass attack on “NeoMetaPhysical. And besides Schachter’s wonderful improvising skills and rippling choruses, the saxophonist also exhibits a knack for churning out Bop-ish grooves, with memorable hooks via his fertile notions and near flawless phraseology. More importantly, Schachter’s swing-based mechanisms and springy motifs provide heaps of excitement and suspense, further enhanced by Erik Johnson’s robust polyrhythmic fury, which is evident from the onset of the bouncy, “A Giant Among Us” and the mid-tempo burner, “Tiny Minds”. Schachter’s lyrically rich treatment of Monk’s “Light Blue”, provides a loose foundation for Jones and Erik Johnson’s alternating rhythmic structures amid the saxophonist’s articulate implementations of semitones, and shrewd utilization of space. Overall, Trio of Many is a live wire, teeming with oscillating undercurrents, explosive interplay and attractive compositions! Hence, an indispensable addition to this writer’s modern jazz collection. Strongly recommended.
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.