Gary Smulyan “Alternative Contrafacts” (SCCD 31844)

SCCD 31844 Gary Smulyan “Alternative Contrafacts” Baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan brings here his trademark “contrafacts” (a music making method that shares the chord progressions with other compositions) approach to this first SteepleChase leader outing challenging us (maybe?) to guess the tunes he is employing. Smulyan whose professional career took shape by joining Woody Herman’s Young Thundering Herds at age 22 (1978) has won Critics’ and Readers’ Poll awards numerous times by Downbeat and JazzTimes, among others. England’s Penguin Guide to Jazz once described Smulyan as “the leading American exponent of post-bop baritone”. GARY SMULYAN baritone saxophone DAVID WONG bass RODNEY GREEN drums Recorded April 2017 1 VODKA (Mal Waldron) 7:34 … Continue reading

Dick Oatts – Lookin’ Up (SCCD 31738)

In his new album “Lookin’ Up” Dick Oatts teams up with his colleague and friend of 34 years, veteran trombonist John Mosca. Dick Oatts notes, “I’ve always liked the way alto sax and trombone blend together and I’ve always been meaning to do a CD with John but the music was never quite right for it. So I sat down over the holiday break and wrote the music around John, the alto and the trombone.” Derek Taylor of Master of a Small House describes Dick Oatts’ previous release “Two Hearts (SCCD 31694) as “ testament to Oatts’ improvisatory powers”. 1. One For Benny (Dick Oatts)2. Alaina's Song (Dick Oatts)3. Just … Continue reading

Christian Winther – From The Sound Up (SCCD 31721)

SCCD 31721 Christian Winther Danish-born New Orleans tenor saxophonist Christian Winther invites Roman Skakun, young rising star on vibraphone from New Orleans to his band to create a special sound for this latest album. Jon Barron of AllAboutJazz commented on Winther’s previous release Soul House (SCCD 31633), “ Soul House is full of feel-good moments, memorable themes and intuitive ensemble interplay. With it, Winther and crew deliver an exceptional set of accessible, mainstream jazz” . “ Winther emigrated from his native Denmark, studied jazz at the University of New Orleans and now resides in the Crescent City. This album reflects his adoption of and adaptation to the local musical culture. … Continue reading

Peter Zak – Down East (SCCD 31715)

Peter Zak continues his high quality trio recordings, this time, with bassist and Zak’s old friend Peter Washington and Rodney Greene on drums providing a strong new entry to his impressive discography. Thomas Conrad of JazzTimes wrote on Zak’s earlier release “Seed of Sin” (SCCD 31641), “ To “get” Zak, you have to pay close attention. The surfaces of his music seem conventional until you notice how imaginatively his improvisations are developed, and how intelligently they tie. Zak invariably comes upon lovely notes you never anticipated …” On Zak’s solo album “My Conception” (SCCD 31619) Terrell Kent Holmes of AAJ commented, “ Zak always makes the right choices, and audiences … Continue reading

Dick Oatts – Two Hearts (SCCD 31694)

Dick Oatts, as shown in his “Standard Issue” (SCCD 31439) and its squeal “Standard Issue volume 2 (SCCD 31482), cherishes tunes from the great American songwriters of the 20 th century. For this new album Dick Oatts compiles a collection of evergreen “love songs” mostly written in the 40s. “…. Longtime lead alto man with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Oatts comes from the Paul Desmond-Lee Konitz school of saxophone playing. But a sweet sound and a cerebral approach to improvising comprise only part of his style. There's also a trim muscularity in his tone and lines. And the lines can be quite angular and oblique at times. I don't hear … Continue reading