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Dusted Magazine shows us the “Bright Side” by Doug Webb

mindset2The title of Doug Webb’s seventh Positone release sums up not only a personal outlook on his vocation, but the reality of it as well, given a career involving 30+ years as a professional musician. Bright Side teams the tenorist with some of the brightest of his immediate peers on the imprint with trumpeter Joe Magnarelli, organist Brian Charette and guitarist Ed Cherry each successful leaders in their own right. Drummer Steve Fidyk doesn’t have a session under his auspices yet, but his calendar as a sideman remains packed with cherry-picked gigs.

As with earlier Webb dates the program draws liberally from a songbook of originals while threading in a handful of covers including the bossa nova “Bahia” and Oliver Nelson’s hardbop workhorse “The Drive”. Webb is a specialist at devising tight punchy heads that pack sizeable ensemble wallops while working flexibly as spring boards for economy-minded solos. “Society Al”, a titular riff on a Dexter Gordon composition, features his horn initially in isolation before the band arrives to advance a rolling, organ-forward groove.

“Silver Lining” gives Charette the chance to show off his skill with building swirling, descending textures as Fidyk carves out a choppy beat beside him. Magnarelli sits out leaving Webb to ride the waves through a solo ripe with both velocity and spirited inflections. Credited to someone with the surname Eastlee, “Steak Sauce” shows off the quintet’s shared facility with a boogaloo rhythm. Charette’s bass lines ooze grease and the horns lock on some lean, but tasty unisons atop another porous series of patterns from Fidyk. Cherry leans back and concerns himself with comping inventively under the frontline extemporizations before moving stepping out for a supple say of his own.

“Melody for Margie” and “One for Hank” reference more important figures in Webb’s personal history, the first at a ballad tempo that capitalize on Charette and Cherry’s capabilities at shaping amorous support lines and Fidyk’s gentle facility with brushes. The second personifies in sound a saxophonist answering to the surname Mobley, at least in general feel, as Webb glides through a set of cerulean-hued changes and into another plush-voiced solo that ranges purposefully through his horn’s middle register. Charette and Cherry also get spotlights before a group exit and the album caps off with another groove workout in the accommodating guise of Webb’s  “Funky Medina”. With friends and continued opportunities like these it’s easy to see how he entertains his abiding optimism.

Derek Taylor  –  Dusted Magazine

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New York City Jazz Record gives a great review of “Gratitude” by Tom Tallitsch

mindset2Tenor saxophonist Tom Tallitsch is an Illinois-bred,
New Jersey-based bandleader and Gratitude is his
seventh album a leader. Tallitsch plays Straightahead
postbop, tossing a few Curve balls to keep things
interesting. He is Of the generation(s) Of players that
doesn’t rely on the Great American Songbook for
material (9 Of the 11 tracks herein are Originals) and he
dips into the rock world for inspiration.
The album opens with “Terrain”, a surging, modal
midtempo tune evoking ’70s McCoy Tyner. Tallitsch
has a notable tone—burly approach of Rollins,
flow of Dexter Gordon and cool of Lester Young, etc.—
but no one influence dominates in a fascinating blend
Of robustness and yearning. Drummer Rudy Royston
kicks up as much dust (and propulsion) as Art Blakey and Jon Davis’ piano is spare, slightly percussive (that
Tyner influence) and possessed of an easy lyricism, He and Tallitsch share a very measured approach. taking
an almost leisurely tack in constructing their solos. Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman” might not
seem the kind Of fare a jazz combo might tackle, but Tallitsch shows its majesty. The saxophonist invests
some elegant blues feeling into the proceedings while Davis, Royston and bassist Peter Brendler slyly add a
soul-jazz groove more implied than overt and guest Brian Charette deftly adds slightly gothic-sounding
organ. These lads close out the program with another seemingly unlikely tune, Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You”,
essayed with a gospel feel thanks to organ (especially) and Davis’ sparse, Slightly Thelonious Monk-like
Chords. Tallitsch gets to shine in a poignant manner without ever getting Cloying Or going Over the top.
Gratitude is an album that displays a rare and very engaging balance Of fervor and restraint, expressive
ace musicianship and terseness.

by Mark Keresman – New York City Jazz Record

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Something Else gives us a view of “The Way You Say It” by Walt Weisfopf

mindset2Walt Weiskopf wrote the book on jazz harmonics and improvisation…actually about ten of so books on those topics. But the best demonstration of his firm grasp on the building blocks for good jazz rests in his records, and his fifteenth one, The Way You Say It (April 8, 2016, Posi-Tone Records), is the latest chapter of his recorded book of work.

 

No matter how much Walt Weiskopf mixes things up for The Way You Say It, the craftsmanship shines through.

S. Victor Aaron – Something Else Reviews

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Saxophone Today reviews Walt Weiskopf’s “The Way You Say It”

mindset2Saxophonist and composer Walt Weiskopf has been a major contributor in the New York (which is to say, world-wide) jazz scene since the early 1980s. After completing studies at the prestigious Eastman School of Music, Weiskopf joined the Buddy Rich Big Band followed by a fourteen-year tenure with the Toshiko Akiyoshi big band. During his time with Akiyoshi and beyond, Weiskopf began recording his own albums playing almost exclusively original music with a variety of groups. Weiskkopf also began his long-running and current association with Steely Dan.

In addition, Weiskopf has become one of the most respected authors in jazz pedagogy starting with his first two books, Coltrane: A Players Guide to His Harmony and The Augmented Scale in Jazz (both co-authored with Ramon Ricker). Other books that followed include Intervalic Improvisation (1994), Around the Horn (2001), Beyond the Horn (co-authored with Ed Rosenberg)(2010) and Understanding the Diminished Scale (2012). Weiskopf has been on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music, Temple University and is currently Coordinator of Jazz Studies at New Jersey City University.
The Way marks Weiskopfs third CD as leader for Posi¬tone, besides at least another dozen for other labels, and represents a change in format, in that Weiskopf uses a modified organ trio as his vehicle of choice. The music, as is his custom, is almost all original, with the exception of three tunes.

To say that Weiskpopf is a master saxophonist is to overstate the obvious. Weiskopf has a clear, clean, centered sound, lickitey-split technique and personality to spare. That covers the “How To Play” side. On the “What to play” side, Weiskopfs melodic, harmonic and rhythmic acumen are massive. All of these attributes are eminently clear in the opening track, a medium-up-tempo blues, Coffee and Scones.

The quirky melody is played by unison tenor and vibes with Weiskopf taking the first solo. As mentioned before, Weiskopf has lots of personality in his playing, beginning with the fact that he plays with no vibrato at all and ends long pitches by just stopping the air, no taper at all. Both of these conditions contribute to his unique voice, but there’s more. Yet another factor are the notes and harmonies that Weiskopf uses. Each chorus that he plays finds him going down a different harmonic path, allowing him to keep the listener interested and on the edge of their seat all at once. Good solos by Gillece and Charette as well.

Inntoene, a barnburner taken at warp speed, is an example of good straight-a-head blowing. Tenor and vibes play the intricate melody once again, with Weiskopf taking the first solo, barreling down the highway, dropping one cleanly executed line after another like some many bombs over his shoulder.

The first of the tunes not written by Weiskopf is the now obscure Candy, by Alex Kramer (lyrics by Mack David & Joan Whitney). Performed as a ballad, for me, this is the money tune of the recording. Weiskopf plays the melody and goes right into his solo chorus paying homage to John Coltrane, with a touch of Jerry Bergonzi. His reading of the melody is just beautiful, and his solo is a study in “this is what a jazz player should be able to do with a tune,” playing it from every angle while still keeping all the music intact.

Segment, by Charlie Parker is another up-tempo gem, with Weiskopf and company just gliding through the changes and the changes of key with ease. Again, Weiskopf displays a complete understanding of harmony and the post-bebop language.Never at a loss for an idea, his lines just flow from one to the other. After a brief two-chorus romp from Weiskopf, Gillece plays his own well executed solo. Tenor and vibes trade eights, then fours for a chorus each before a shout chorus and the final reading of the melody.

The title tune, a prety ballad by the leader closes the CD. The melody is shared by tenor and vibes followed by short solos by Charette and Weiskopf. The mellow feel of the tune lets you down easy after the  action packed recording.

Walt Weiskopf is a power with which to be reckoned; if you are not familiar with his playing, this recording is a great place to start to get to know him.

Billy Kerr – Saxophone Today

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Midwest record is the first to look on the “Bright Side” by Doug Webb

mindset2This is a direct descendant of the kind of jazz record that took jazz from smoky, late night New York clubs to the rec rooms of then nascent suburban sprawl.  With a crew of leaders backing up the first call sax man, this is a perfect example of where jazz meets commercial vibes and coming out none the worse for wear.  Pure jazz for pure jazzbos, listening dates don’t come any Better than this.  Well done.

Midwest Record

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Downbeat understands the tradition of the Hammond B-3 as well its future with “Once & Future”

mindset2In every jazz lover’s mind there exists the perfect Hammond B-3 organ player. Whether that ultimate B-3 technician is Jimmy Smith, Charles Earland, Larry Young or Shirley Scott, certain defining parameters exist, regardless of the individual player.

But when it comes to Hammond B-3 mastery, Brian Charette wrote the book. Literally. His 101 Hammond B3 Tips (Hal Leonard) covers, among other topics, “funky scales and modes,” “creative chord voicings” and “cool drawbar settings.” Even more proof of his proficiency is heard on Once & Future, where Charette gives a master class in the many styles of B-3 playing, joined by guitarist Will Bernard and drummer Steve Fidyk.

Performing covers and original material, Charette’s B-3 touch is decidedly light, buoyant and playful. He brings his style to bear on hardcore grits ‘n’ gravy groovers by the acknowledged masters of the genre, as well as fare that puts me in mind of a cocktail party circa 1963. In that way, Once & Future acts as a calling card of sorts, a sampler of the many styles Charette and trio can bring to your next social function. Thankfully, there’s plenty of steam and smoke to balance the lighter punch bowl offerings.

The album kicks off with Fats Waller’s “Jitterbug Waltz,” delivered in groove-a-licious waltz-time goodness. Bubbly, swinging and steaming are apt descriptions here. The pace continues with Larry Young’s “Tyrone” (from 1965’s Into Somethin’), Bernard and Fidyk ramping up the temperature with able solos and fatback groove.

Charette’s sparkling “Latin From Manhattan” brings to mind Walter Wanderley as easily as it does Donald Fagen’s “Walk Between The Raindrops.” The trio knocks back Freddie Roach’s “Da Bug,” paints a dutiful rendition of “At Last” and stomps hard on Jack McDuff’s “Hot Barbeque.”

Other highlights include a beautiful, if jocular, version of Bud Powell’s “Dance Of The Infidels,” a note-perfect “Zoltan” as it appeared on Young’s 1966 masterpiece, Unity, and a cover of Wes Montgomery’s “Road Song.”

Both B-3 stylist and student, serious jazz scholar and glitzy entertainer, Charette is a burning soloist who understands the tradition of the Hammond B-3 as well its future—just as cerainly as he understands his place in that lineage.

Ken Micallef – Downbeat

 

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“Once & Future” by Brian Charette gets dusted

mindset2Dusted In Exile

Organ aficionados dismiss Brian Charette at their own disservice. With a Positone label contract in his pocket he’s stepped up his fecundity over the past year and turned out a string of albums that refuse to cow to critics that consider the instrument gauche or played out. Lesser hands accorded such liberal access to the avenues of album production would likely risk a tapering in quality to keep up. Charette’s kept his success record clean, balancing creative ideational execution with a conspicuous mindfulness aimed at fun.

The catalyst for Once & Future is at once unexpectedly self-referential and more broadly historical. At an earlier session Charette happened upon a copy of his own book 101 Hammond B3 Tips on the studio instrument and consequently started pondering the pantheon of players influential to his development. Fourteen pieces pay homage to these eclectic electric forefathers with three coming from Charette’s own design. Guitarist Will Bernard and drummer Steve Fidyk both show themselves game at exploring the guiding conceit of the date to the hilt.

The program starts orthodoxly enough with Fats Waller and the nascent organ inroad “Jitterbug Waltz” lathered here with a heaping helping of swollen, suspirating pedal sustain.  Initial predictability gets upended as Charette vaults to the other end of the stylistic organ spectrum with Larry Young’s “Tyrone”, juggling interlocking Latin and funk components while deferring to Bernard for first solo honors. Barely a quarter century separates the two compositions, but each is of seismic importance in measuring the evolution of the instrument’s importance in jazz.

Charette’s “Latin from Manhattan” intentionally matches the formidable kitsch quotient of its title with a syrupy string of fills and a light samba beat. Bernard and Fidyk recline into their roles amiably unperturbed by the lounge-scented surroundings. Freddie Roach’s “Da Bug” works over a rolling call-and-response boogaloo rhythm while Jack McDuff’s “Hot Barbecue”, a Harlem club staple from the Hammond Sixties heyday, gets its well-deserved due with declamatory titular band refrain intact.

Back-to-back burning renditions of Bud Powell’s “Dance of the Infidels” and Woody Shaw’s “Zoltan” signal another course change to more modern fare. Charette flips a switch and hits the angular, staggered theme of the former with a tumescent knife-edged tone that almost eclipses Bernard’s careful comping. The latter tune gives Fidyk the chance to share his press roll and cymbal accent expertise in tandem with the leader’s aggressive to nal swells and spirals. James Brown, Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery comprise the album’s compositional final stretch alongside a few more originals. Charette’s win column remains uncompromised throughout.

Derek Taylor – Dusted In Exile

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New York City Jazz Record know it’s “The Way You Say It” by Walt Weiskopf

mindset2With over three-and-a-half decades in the New York jazz scene, beginning with Buddy Rich and Toshiko Akiyoshi, Walt Weiskopf is long established as a hard-blowing tenor saxophonist and creative composer. Accompanied by Charette, up-and-coming vibraphonist Behn Gillece and Steve Fidyk, most of The Way You Say It focuses on Weiskopf’s potent originals, starting with the percolating blues “Coffee and Scones”. The catchy unison theme of “Blues Combination” is negotiated with the confidence of a working band, Fidyk providing a strong undercurrent. Alex Kramer-Joan Whitney-Mack David’s “Candy” was long favored by soul jazz saxophonists and this understated interpretation pays homage to past greats, with sublime organ and soft brushwork supplying the perfect backdrop. There’s a change in direction with the dramatic setting of Weather Report’s “Scarlet Woman”, then an effortless galloping through Charlie Parker’s bop gem “Segment” before cooling off the listener with the lush title ballad.

New York City Jazz Record

 

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New York City Jazz Record checks out “Once & Future” by Brian Charette

mindset2Brian Charette has rapidly become a rising star on the Hammond B3 organ for the past few years and his latest CD is a salute to his fellow players, ranging from greats of the Swing Era to current players. Well accompanied by guitarist Will Bernard and drummer Steve Fidyk, Charette is interested in modernizing vintage tunes while putting his stamp on them. Starting with Fats Waller’s “Jitterbug Waltz”, Charette swings but the peppy rhythm section gives this jazz favorite a new flavor. His funky take of Larry Young’s blues “Tyrone” downplays John Coltrane’s influence on its composer and turns it into a percolating number for partying. The band engages in shout-outs of the title to Jack McDuff’s engaging funky blues “Hot Barbecue”, though Charette’s keyboard fireworks merit the real attention. Bud Powell’s “Dance of the Infidels” isn’t commonly heard on organ, but this imaginative treatment may open the door for others to conduct further explorations. Charette wraps the session with his hip “Blues For 96”. The future of Hammond B3 is in great hands

New York City Jazz Record

 

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Midwest Record feels the groove on Brian Charette’s “Once & Future”

mindset2The guy that literally, actually and factually wrote the book about B3 will blow your mind right out of the box on the first track with the way he cascades notes on “Jitterbug Waltz”.  Whether you know anything about B3 or are a long time fan of organ trios, that track is all it’s going to take to make you a believer and join the fun.  A dead, solid killer of a set, this is gold standard after hours jazz that’ll separate the hipsters from the real groove daddys.  Smoking stuff throughout that never wears out it’s welcome.   – Midwest Record