Here is a unique set-up: a melodious mingling of baritone sax and Hammond B3. From the first bouncy, upbeat notes of Sunny, Smul’s Paradise will draw you into a jazzy mood.
Gary Smulyan (baritone sax), Mike LeDonne (Hammond B3), Peter Bernstein (guitar) and Kenny Washington (drums) have recorded a massively entertaining album.
Of the eight tracks, Sumlyan has authored three, and the other tracks could well have been written especially for him.
Ed Blanco says in his All About Jazz review that it’s “an exciting, compelling post-bop sizzler of a recording”. I stem completely saam. These musos work well together and are very tight.
I had only slight knowledge of Smulyan’s recordings and then remembered his Downbeat listings when I read Scott Albin on JazzTimes.com: “This CD offers yet another firm explanation as to why Smulyan has been named the best baritone saxophonist in the last five DownBeat critics polls.”
At last, somebody to fill Gerry Mulligan’s place in Baritonia! Now, we only need to find a Johnny Hodges lookalike to marry baritone and alto.
Another swinging and easy-on-the-ears album is Jeff Hamilton’s Red Sparkle.
Named for Hamilton’s first drum set, the album features Hamilton (drums), Christoph Luty (bass) and Tamir Hendelman (piano).
Traditional, tight trio performances. The band kicks off with a Hamilton original, Ain’t That A Peach, and continues to delight with Thelonious Monk’s Bye Ya, the thoughtful On and On, Johnny Mercer’s Too Marvellous For Words and Laura among the total of 10 tracks.
Both CDs reviewed today will find favour with those jazz buffs who like their music in a style reminiscent of the Sixties. Honest, swinging, toe-tapping jazz – as it should be.
The albums are not available locally. But they are produced by and are available from Capri Records at www.caprirecords.com. I promise, you will love them.
lThe last competition brought in more than 200 entries and I had a tough time finding 10 worthy winners. If you were unsuccessful, take heart and try again in the next column’s competitions. There will be competitions for Seffricans in the next edition of The Jassman.