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Yotam Silberstein: Never Let Me Go


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In his heyday, tenor saxophonist George Coleman bulled through the changes with the single-minded muscularity of heavyweight boxer Joe Frazier bearing down on an opponent. When Big George was on, the changes didn't stand a chance. He's slowed down a bit, but like many distinguished predecessors, what Coleman has lost—or abandoned—at racehorse tempos is more than compensated by the grandeur of his playing on ballads.

"Never Let Me Go" seems to be a favorite of his, and guitarist Yotam Silberstein was wise to include it on the setlist of Standards (Jojo Records, 2024). Wiser still was the decision to invite old pros John Patitucci and Billy Hart, on bass and drums respectively, to the session. The song, a mid-'50s hit for Nat King Cole, is a dreamy lover's reverie, but one suspects that the lyrics might hold a different meaning for Coleman as his 90th birthday in 2025 draws nearer. Coleman slightly cracks a D on the initial statement of the melody, but out of that momentary unsteadiness flows a performance soaked in emotion and delivered with timeless eloquence.

John Chacona Contact John Chacona on All About Jazz.
John Chacona is a freelance journalist, content writer and producer in Cleveland.

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