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While he's been overshadowed by other saxophonists throughout much of his career, Sonny Fortune has been an important force in jazz for many years, playing in a style that owes much to John Coltrane and was showcased in the bands of Coltrane's key collaborators, Elvin Jones and McCoy Tyneras well as in a stint with Miles Davis in the 1970s.
Fortune's You and The Night and The Music shows the Philadelphia-born Fortune in fine form at the age of sixty-eightsomething he also showed in a rousing JVC Jazz Festival warm-up performance in the unlikely setting of New York's Macy's Herald Square, though playing primarily standards for the necessarily eclectic crowd.
Fronting a superb quartet on this discGeorge Cables on piano, the terrific Chip Jackson on bass and Steve Johns on drumsFortune plays a set long on standards ("Sweet Georgia Brown, "Besame Mucho, "The End of a Love Affair ), all of which are delivered with finesse, lyricism and the sharp, reedy tone that's become Fortune's signature. He also proves himself up to the high-energy demands of Dizzy Gillespie's "BeBop, which closes the album on an upbeat note.
While Fortune is known mostly as an alto saxophonist, he also reminds listeners that he's one of the best and most creative flute players in jazz, as evidenced by his gorgeous playing here on "'Round Midnight.
Track Listing: Sweet Georgia Brown; You and the Night and the Music; Charade; Round Midnight; Besame Mucho; Love Song; The End of a Love Affair; For Duke and Cannon; Bebop.
Personnel: Sonny Fortune: sax, flute; George Cable: piano; Chip Jackson: bass; Steve Johns: drums.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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