All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 (or more) and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

177

Wayne Escoffery: Uptown

Woodrow Wilkins By
Published:
Sign in to view read count
Wayne Escoffery: Uptown Bob Mintzer, Kirk Whalum and Ada Rovatti are just a few of today's stunning tenor sax players. Wayne Escoffery can be added to their company.

Escoffery, 34, is a native of London who moved to the United States with his mother at an early age. He enjoyed singing, and was a member of the New Haven Trinity Boys Choir in Connecticut. He eventually turned to the saxophone, and has performed with a diverse array of bandleaders and ensembles, including Ben Riley's Monk Legacy Septet, Rufus Reid, Jimmy Cobb and the Carolyn Leonhart Group. On Uptown, he is accompanied by Avi Rothbard on guitar, Gary Versace on organ and Jason Brown on drums.

"No Desert," one of three songs written by Rothbard, jumps out of the gate with Versace's organ setting the pace. Brown scores some nice snare rolls between lines. Escoffery rips it up on the tenor, at times bellowing out phrases from the instrument's lower register. Rothbard and Versace join in adding their respective voices in their own solos.

"Cross Bronx" is another high-energy Rothbard piece. After Escoffery's lead at the start of the song, the guitarist takes point. Brown and Versace step up in the action, but remain in the background. Escoffery's middle solo involves a bouncy series of rolling phrases, while Versace attracts attention as well in his solo maneuver.

Versace opens "Road from Eilat" without accompaniment. Brown, Escoffery and Rothbard come in. The music has a Middle Eastern feel, appropriate given that the song is named after a city in Egypt. However, once Escoffery warms up, the flavor becomes unbridled improv. At one point, he strikes a series of notes that make the tenor buzz. During the opening and closing melodies, the music conjures a vision of desert travel.

Seven of the nine songs on Uptown were written by members of the quartet which turns this album in an original blend of talents.


Track Listing: No Desert; I Got It Bad; Cross Bronx; You Know I Care; Road from Eilat; Gulf of Aqaba; Nu Soul; Maya's Waltz; Easy Now.

Personnel: Wayne Escoffery: tenor saxophone; Avi Rothbard: guitar; Gary Versace: organ; Jason Brown: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop For Jazz

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
The Only Son Of One
The Only Son Of One
Sunnyside Records
2012
buy
[no cover]
Jam Session, Vol. 30
Songlines Recordings
2010
buy
Playdate
Playdate
Posi-Tone Records
2010
buy
Uptown
Uptown
Posi-Tone Records
2009
buy
Hopes and Dreams
Hopes and Dreams
Savant Records
2008
buy
Veneration: Live at Smoke
Veneration: Live at...
Savant Records
2007
buy
Buddy Rich Buddy Rich
drums
Paul Desmond Paul Desmond
sax, alto
Gary Burton Gary Burton
vibraphone
Steve Coleman Steve Coleman
sax, alto
Andrew Neu Andrew Neu
saxophone
Harvie S Harvie S
bass
Don Patterson Don Patterson
organ, Hammond B3

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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