As readers on this board probably know I am a big fan of the sax in jazz recordings. I like Sonny Stitt, Jimmy Forrest, Gene Ammons along with greats like Coltrane and Rollins. I recently had a chance to listen to some other sax players that are not know by many except those true jazz fans and here are my thoughts..
Big Sweet & Blue-Norris Turney's Alto-Mapleshade Records
Performance: **** Sonics ***
If you like the blues and like jazz than this is CD for you. It opens with a very nice solo and then goes into a 10:51 second melodic blues that is excellent. Unfortunately the CD goes down hill from there. There are some good moments but you keep waiting for this band to wail and they seem content becoming background music in a jazz lounge. I was also disappointed in the recording. I found that I had to keep turning up the volume to hear the full effect of the band. This CD is for blues and jazz fans but don't expect to get blown away.
On the Sunny Side of the Street-Harold Ashby
Performance: *** Sonics: ***
This is a very nice album to listen to on a rainy Sunday or doing a romantic dinner but the performance is very average at best. There are typical jazz arrangements of songs like Honeysuckle Rose and Satin Doll but this band seems to play these songs for the sake of playing them. Again this is best suited for a mellow Sunday or as background music at a party. I am also dissappointed in the sonics. It seeks as though Ashby's sax is too far from the microphone and the piano at time sounds better than his sax. His performance is uninspiring to say the least.
The Offering- Bobby Battle Quartet with David Murray
Performance: ** Sonics: **
What a sleeper ! I mean how many ballads can you listen to before you get so mellow you melt ! Mistake to purchase this CD and I advise only serious jazz fans who are looking to round out their collection purchase this CD
I was reminded again, as I listened to these CD's, of the great Rudy Van Gelder recordings from the late 50's and 60's that blow these away in both sonics and performance. Give me a Gene Ammons, or Coleman Hawkins over ANY of these CD's any day.