Omaha, Nebraska native Woody Witt now works out of the Houston, TX area where he holds down the chair as Assistant Director of Jazz Studies at Houston University. Most of what you will hear on his maiden CD are his compositions played in a quartet setting. One hears in Witt an amalgamation of many of the modern saxophone players of the last several decades, starting with John Coltrane, but with obvious mannerisms of John Henderson, Sonny Rollins and Michael Brecker slipping into his playing. On one of his more compelling compositions, "Through the Fog", that special impressionism Coltrane managed to create with the horn, as well as that unique ballad tone, comes through very clear and very effectively. He also gives Duke Pearson's "You Know I Care" a thoughtful improvisational reading without having to resort to saxophone pyrotechnics, such as screeches, honks and other assorted cacophony. Witt is obviously interested in maintaining the purity of the sax sound without unneeded distortions or contrivance. He is also not averse to a swinging chorus or two as he shows in his rambunctious "A Child's Dance". Here he shows complete mastery over the big horn again eschewing unnecessary dramatics getting right to the essence of the music.
The horn player has chosen his playing cohorts for this session well. Pianist Joe LoCascio has several albums out under his own name and appears as a sideman on four albums of that hard bop saxman, Tony Campise. The remaining two members of the quartet, David Craig on bass and Tim Solook on drums, act as perfect rhythmic foils to Witt's hard driving sound. Solook, especially, manages to make his important contributions to the melodic contrivances of Witt, without being overbearing. Witt and group go a long, long way on this album demonstrating that modern creative jazz need not be so distant as to lose contact with the listeners. This album is for the intelligent jazz fan. It may, and should, be obtained through Witt's web site at www.woodywitt.com.
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