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Doug Webb “Triple Play” review by David Orthmann…




As tempting as it is to simply consign a blowing session label toTriple Play, a three tenor saxophone plus rhythm date led byDoug Webb, there’s ample evidence that something more disciplined and structured is afoot. For one thing, eight of the disc’s eleven tracks are under six minutes—in other words, there’s not a lot of room for indulgence, excess, or one-upmanship of any kind. The material, including striking originals by the leader,Walt Weiskopf, and Joel Frahm, as well as assorted standards such as “Avalon,” “Giant Steps,” and “I Concentrate On You,” is often tendered by the horns like a reed section of a big band, carefully blended and precisely executed. Randy Aldcroft, who doesn’t appear on the record, is credited with the arrangements of three selections.

Organist Brian Charette serves as the session’s ballast, holding things in place with smart, pulsating work on the bass pedals, beautifully shaded and nuanced comping, as well as tweaking soloists with the occasional brash chord. Rudy Royston‘s drums and cymbals constitute the session’s wild card. He offers a busy, sometimes manic commentary, moving in and out of the pocket at will, punching holes in the music with his bass and snare drums, playing stretches of comparatively straight time, as well as tapping out jumbles of strokes.

Webb, Weiskopf, and Frahm are middle-aged veterans of the struggles and triumphs of jazz performance, far too accomplished and certain of their abilities to participate in some sort of spurious tenor battle; thankfully, the record’s end result is a wealth of inspired, highly focused improvisations. The three tenors—each in his own manner—play with a ruthless efficiency, making complete, rousing statements, usually in just a handful of choruses, on selections mostly taken at middling to up tempos.

Webb possesses an exemplary ability to navigate various tempos and find fresh perspectives on material that would induce a litany of clichés in a lesser player. Undaunted by the dizzying pace of “Avalon,” his ideas cohere without a trace of athleticism or strain. A three-chorus turn on Lou Donaldson‘s soul-jazz tune “Alligator Boogaloo” includes relaxed, neatly sculpted phrases as well as the requisite blues and R & B effusions. Throughout “I Concentrate On You,” amidst Charette’s and Royston’s firm support, he swings in a way that evinces a momentum of its own. During the first chorus of his composition “Jones,” Webb makes an art of stopping short, that is cutting off ideas before an easily anticipated conclusion, and then offering something else, without any hint of disengagement or loss of continuity.

It’s easy to become preoccupied with Weiskopf’s tone, a dense, vibrating, all-encompassing, blues-fused concoction, at the expense of taking notice of the ways in which he organizes ideas in the service of sustaining momentum. On his composition “Three’s A Crowd” and Webb’s “Triple Play,” he displays a flair for brief, dramatic entrances—such as slamming home one note and extending it, or making a handful of notes sound like a buzz saw, immediately following with an impassioned, metallic cry—and then rapidly getting down to the business of building a cogent, emotionally compelling improvisation. The second chorus on “The Way Things Are,” another one of his compositions, includes some of Weiskopf’s most stunning work on the record. His lines are taut, tightly connected, and for the most part etched into the hum and rumble of Charette’s bass line. When he pauses, or briefly spins out a flurry of notes that fly against the beat before snapping back to attention, the effect is like an edifice being ripped apart and immediately—miraculously—put back into place.

Each of Frahm’s solos is something of an adventure, as he manipulates his tone, juggles contrasting rhythms, intentionally rushes or drags time, changes temperament from cool to hot, and flashes a number of ideas in relatively short periods. His “Jones” improvisation gradually comes into focus. Frahm lays back for much of the first chorus, playing a little behind the beat and leaving some room between selected phrases. The last eight bars signal a change as his tone assumes a ragged edge. The second chorus begins with the insistent pecking of a number of staccato notes, which he rapidly wrestles into a nifty phrase. Eventually his sound thickens and he integrates squeaks, burr tones, and screams. During “Your Place Or Mine” Frahm evokes jazz of the swing era for about a half chorus in terms of vocabulary and rhythmic nuisances before metamorphosing to the present day. Throughout “Triple Play” he creates tension by playing slightly ahead of the beat, and sprinkles at least three song quotes into the solo’s second chorus.

Not unlike Swing Shift, Webb’s memorable 2012 release on Posi-Tone, Triple Play contains the present centered vibe of the last set of a club date, when the musicians are open to all possibilities, expressing themselves without inhibitions and, for an hour or so, the sounds are strong enough to keep the outside world at bay.

Track Listing: Jones; Three’s A Crowd; Giant Steps; The Way Things Are; Avalon; Jazz Car; Your Place Or Mine; I Concentrate On You; Pail Blues; Alligator Boogaloo; Triple Play.

Personnel: Doug Webb: tenor sax; Walt Weiskopf: tenor sax; Joel Frahm: tenor sax; Brian Charette: organ; Rudy Royston: drums.



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All About Jazz reviews Doug Webb “Triple Play”…



Is there a better way to say “Jazz” than a wailing saxophone? Tenor sax guy Doug Webb has found a one: three wailing saxophones, a killer organ guy and a dynamic, full-of-surprises, rhythmic wizard of a drummer, on Triple Play.

His fifth recording on Posi-Tone Records—a label that follows closely in the footsteps of the iconic Blue Note Records straight ahead sound of the 50s and 60s—Webb teams with fellow sax veterans Walt Weiskopf and Joel Frahm in a spirited front line if ever there was one. The program burns from beginning to end, starting with the leaders “Jones,” rolling out with some high energy three horn harmony before shifting into a series of growling, honking, full flame solo slots, one saxophone after the other. Laying the solid, wall-of-sweet-breeze backdrop is Brian Charette on organ, and the ever rambunctious relative newcomer, drummer Rudy Royston.

John Coltrane‘s challenging “Giant Steps” is taken with the all-eight-cylinders-firing acceleration, sheets of sound saxophone notes all around, with Charette slipping in short organ bursts burning up from the off-kilter turbulence of Royston’s drum work.

For those in the mood to kick back and soak up a rousing, mood-elevating blowing session, this is it. Never a dull moment, with first rate tunes from Frahm and Weiskopf, a Cole Porter cover, “I Concentrate On You,” and soul saxophone legend Lou Donaldson’s “Alligator Boogie,” that gives organist Charette some space to blow the roof off the place. Nice!


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Another nice review for Doug Webb “Triple Play”…

Doug Webb, Triple Play (Posi-Tone)

If you’re a hard-core tenor sax fan, this one’s for you. L.A.-based Doug Webb teamed with Joel Frahm and Walt Weiskopf for this triple-tenor recording, on which they’re nimbly supported by rising stars Brian Charette on organ and Rudy Royston on drums. They tackle a variety of jazz standards and originals (two apiece from Webb and Weiskopf, one from Frahm).The many gems include their takes on “Avalon,” ”I Concentrate on You” and Lou Donaldson’s burner, “Alligator Boogaloo,” as well as Weiskopf’s “Three’s a Crowd” and Lanny Morgan’s “Pail Blues.” There’s plenty of solo space to share, but they also excel at shout choruses and a saxophone choir feel as needed.


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StepTempest covers Doug Webb “Triple Play”….



The new CD from tenor saxophonist Doug Webb, “Tripl3 Play” (Posi-Tone Records, is a treat from the handsome opening notes to the hair-raising riffs that bring the program to a close.  In between, Webb and fellow tenor men Walt Weiskopf and Joel Frahm swing, bluster and carouse their way through a set that literally roars out of the speakers. A good portion of the excitement can be attributed to how the trio interact and push each other into a fiendish yet friendly competition.  Also, one must give a lot of credit to the rhythm section of Brian Charette (organ) and force-of-nature that is drummer Rudy Royston for how they make sure the fires are always stoked.

There’s nary a ballad to be found in the 60-minute run.  In fact, the music goes from swinging to burning and beyond.  Tunes such as “Avalon“, “Giant Steps” and the title track hit the ground running and never let up. There’s also a heady dollop of blues on tracks such as Randy Aldcroft’s “Your Place or Mine” and Lou Donaldson’s “Alligator Boogaloo.” Try to sit still listening to Lanny Morgan’s “Pail Blues” or Weiskopf’s “Three’s a Crowd” – impossible! Webb makes sure everybody gets heard therefore the solos are often short.  Yet, the results are not inconsequential. Sure, this is a “blowing session” yet there is great respect for the music, for the tradition and for keeping the listener satisfied.

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Doug Webb “Triple Play” gets covered by Dusted in Exile….



Doug Webb – Triple Play (Positone)


In the imaginary contest between coasts, Pacific will always register a distant second to Atlantic when it comes to jazz supremacy. Even during the Fifties at the height of West Coast Cool movement, New York City still held a lock as the music’s epicenter. Left coaster Doug Webb has dealt with this disparity for much of his 30+ year career. A native of Los Angeles, he parlayed a relative paucity of jazz peers into lucrative assignments in film and television including, most recently, Law & Order and Family Guy. That flexibility of finances and schedule also allowed him to gig with many of the greats over the years including Horaces Silver and Tapscott, Freddie Hubbard and Billy Higgins.


Roughly five years ago the lure of session leadership led Webb to a contract with Positone. Triple Play, his fourth album for the label, deviates from its quartet-configured predecessors in presenting the tenorist in the company of two formidable contemporaries on his instrument, Walt Weiskopf and Joel Frahm. Organist Brian Charette and drummer Rudy Royston round out the ensemble and further the feeling of the sort of relaxed jam sessions that used to be the province of labels like Prestige and Verve. Favorable comparisons to classic conclaves like Booker Ervin/Sonny Stitt (Soul People) and Arnett Cobb/Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis (Blow Arnett, Blow) and aren’t completely out of bounds.

Webb sequences originals by all three saxophonists with a handful of covers starting with an accelerated rendition of Coltrane’s “Giant Steps”. First up though, “Jones”, a breezy blower by the leader based on standard changes which introduces each of the horns in succession over eddying up-tempo support by Charette and Royston before a truncated string of fours. Weiskopf’s “Three’s a Crowd” riffs humorously in both title and content on the comparatively close quarters of the frontline through a spate of staggered unisons. Royston keeps the pocket covered from behind his kit and Charette comps with salubrious legato swells into a compact solo of his own near the track’s close. Keeping statements short and sweet is the overarching name of the game.

The succession of three-pronged theme statements can get a bit disorienting in terms of parsing who’s doing what and where, but the horns are fairly easy to distinguish once they disentangle for individual solos. Densely packed rundowns of “The Way Things Are” (Weiskopf’s spin on the standard of similar title) and “Avalon” are immediate cases in point with tightly twining heads spinning off into rapid-fire individual improvisations as the rhythm section sustains a precariously fast pace. Royston’s breaks on the latter are dime-stoppingly precise and a sharp contrast to the funky syncopations he brings session’s penultimate piece a steady burn turn on Lou Donaldson’s “Alligator Boogaloo”, which features Charette at his most eccentric and unfettered. If there’s a quibble to be lodged at Webb’s overall design it lies in the absence of ballads of slower tempos, but the unrelenting forward momentum reveals its own rewards.

Derek Taylor



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Burning Ambulance reviews the Doug Webb’s new CD…



Tenor saxophonist Doug Webb has been playing professionally on the West Coast for over 30 years, and has appeared on over 500 recordings. In addition to gigging and performing as a sideman on over 150 jazz albums, he regularly records music for TV and movies—most notably, he provides the saxophone “voice” of Lisa Simpson.

Webb’s relationship with the Posi-Tone label goes back a few years. In 2010, he recorded three albums in one day with a band featuring Stanley Clarke on bass, Gerry Gibbs on drums, and three different pianists: Joe BaggMahesh Balasooriya, and Larry GoldingsMidnight and Renovations were released that year, while Swing Shift came out in 2011.

With 2013’s Another Scene, Webb came East, recording in New York with pianist Peter Zak, bassist Dwayne Burno, and drummer Rudy Royston. And now, he’s teaming up with the drummer again for the new album Triple Play, which comes out March 17. (Pre-order it from Amazon.) The disc also features organist Brian Charette and two more tenor saxophonists:Joel Frahm in the right stereo channel, and Walt Weiskopf in the left.

This is a killer band, and they burn through 11 tracks in an hour here. Charette and Royston have recorded together for Posi-Tone in the past, on guitarist Will Bernard‘s Just Like Downtown and alto saxophonist Mike DiRubbo‘s Chronos. They know how to set up a fast groove that swings so hard it’s almost rock ‘n’ roll, in the vein of tracks by 1950s and early ’60s players like Red Prysock and Don Wilkerson, and the saxophonists all step up to the plate and deliver. It never becomes a honking, bar-walking cutting contest, though; each man shines in the spotlight, but supports the other two at the same time.

Triple Play includes a speedy take on John Coltrane‘s “Giant Steps”; five originals (one by Frahm and two each by Webb and Weiskopf); a tender, midtempo interpretation of Cole Porter‘s “I Concentrate on You”; and the track we’re premiering here, an almost preposterously thick and funky version of Lou Donaldson‘s “Alligator Boogaloo” that’s as much a showcase for Charette as the horns.

Phil Freeman




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SaxShed does an in-depth review of our new “Triple Play” CD…

Triple Play – Doug Webb with Walt Weiskopf and Joel Frahm Print E-mail
ImageTriple Play – Doug Webb with Walt Weiskopf and Joel Frahm


Posi-Tone Records will soon release Triple Play,the newest recording by Doug Webb. Webb is a long time resident of California and formidable tenor player in his own right. He is joined by his brothers on the tenor saxophone Walt Weiskopf and Joel Frahm. The tenor trio is backed by relative newcomers Brian Charette on organ and Rudy Royston on drums.


The recording was recently brought to my attention by Posi-Tone’s Marc Free however I have been familiar with the three tenor players for some time. Doug Webb and I were at Berklee College of Music at the same time and he was among the best players there at that time. Walt Weiskopf and I have a former student in common named Ed Rosenberg who co-wrote Beyond the Horn with Weiskopf. Lastly, I have had the pleasure to interview Joel Frahm in a “mini-view” here on I listened to Triple Play by Doug Webb no less than 4 times before completing this review. For those readers who are not familiar with any or all of these wonderful tenor saxophone players – you are missing out if you are not already listening to them.


The opening cut Jones, based on the changes of Have You Met Miss Jones opens with Doug Webb front and center on a hard swinging romp through the changes. Frahm, solos second swinging just as hard but with occasional punctuated staccatos and guttural growls emitting from his tenor. Walt Weiskopf bats clean up with a hard bopping solo of his own, with just a hint more edge than the first two. Finally the trio trades fours on the final vamp.


The second cut Three’s A Crowd was the first cut I heard on a SoundCloud preview upon the first two listenings. The 3 part unison melody is followed by Weiskopf’s hard edged and angular solo, nicely balanced by Webb’s Coltrane-inspired chorus. Frahm explores the upper range of the tenor and a decidedly different approach on the changes than the other two tenor men. Relative newcomer Brian Charette solos on Hammond B-3 before the final chorus.


What tenor saxophone recording featuring three tenor players playing early Selmers on Otto Link metal mouthpieces would be complete without a version of Giant Steps? Frahm opens up with the first jagged chorus and quickly embarks on a stream of 8th notes making the brisk tempo feel as smooth as silk. Webb and Weiskopf follow with hard bopping solos of their own. They all pay homage to John Coltrane while at the same time offering their own twist on this jazz classic. The relatively short version beckons multiple listens as there is a lot of information traveling through these very capable hands.


Weiskopf’s The Way Things Are shares the changes with the jazz standard All The Things You Are. His original Parkeresque melody weaves through the changes as does his first solo. Joel Frahm chooses some melodic motifs in which to begin his somewhat schizophrenic solo. (and I mean this as a compliment) Frahm transforms his melodic ideas into more angular lines leading into the altissimo and unexpected staccato passages. As if it were not enough, he hints at the blues before Doug Webb makes quick work of the brisk tempo. Lastly, the three brothers play the out chorus in harmony reminiscent of Woody Herman’s Four Brothers.


The 300+ beats per minute Avalon played at break neck speed clearly demonstrates these tenor giants are not afraid of tempos. Webb solos first. His blisteringly fast lines sound comfortable and relaxed before finally quoting the melody during his last few bars. Weiskopf’s tenor sounds somewhat angry over the stop time intro to his chorus. He continues to eat up and spit out his lines over the ambitious tempo. Frahm picks up without hesitation where Weiskopf left off. His style is neither angry nor relaxed but almost playful. Charette takes the last ride on organ over his own percolating bass line. Drummer Rudy Royston gets a piece of the action with some impressive 8s played with the three tenor men before the final chorus.


Jazz Car written by Joel Frahm is set to the changes of Charlie Parker’s Blues For Alice although not in the typical key of F concert. Jazz Car is written in G concert which puts it in the slightly more challenging key of A on the tenor saxophone. Frahm alternates between using his traditional jazz vocabulary and a decidedly more modern and dissonant approach. Walt Weiskopf solos second, showing off his post-Coltrane tenor sound and skills. Doug Webb’s sound here is big and warm to start. Initially his playing is very reminiscent of Dexter Gordon whether by coincidence or design. He leaves the Dexter behind, turns on the juice and inspires some spirited interplay between the entire group.


The joyful Your Place Or Mine credited to R. Aldcroft is penned by long time Webb colleague of Randy Aldcroft. Upon first listening I tried to identify the standard without success. A little searching revealed the Webb/Aldcroft connection. Aldcroft is also responsible for three of the arrangements on Triple Play. Perhaps not a standard but if this tune is not already well known, it should be. Webb solos first followed by Frahm and ultimately Weiskopf who’s sound here seems devoid of the same edge heard elsewhere on the recording.


Fans of standards and traditional, straight ahead jazz will likely gravitate toward Webb’s version of the classic I Concentrate On You. The 3 part harmony and melodic tenor features are delightful to listen. Frahm’s clear tenor sound stands out on his short melodic passages confined to his high register.


The final three cuts on Doug Webb’s Triple Play include Lanny Morgan’s medium up Pail Blues, Lou Donaldson’sAlligator Boogaloo and the title cut. These last tracks showcase the same great playing found earlier on Triple Playalong with a few noteworthy moments.


Brian Charette’s time and feel – exemplified in his 8th notes played over his walking bass line – are simply fantastic. His solos – especially on both Pail Blues and the earlier Jazz Car – are worth the price of the recording by themselves.


Donaldson’s soulful Alligator Boogaloo features Webb’s lone tenor solo. By far not the most sophisticated solo recorded on this blowing session, Webb says it all in only 3 gritty choruses. Charette then further schools us on how the Hammond B-3 is intended to be played.


The ultimate title track on Triple Play features the three tenors on rhythm changes in Bb. What can be said? Doug Webb, Walt Weiskopf and Joel Frahm backed by Brian Charette and Rudy Royston – I’m done attempting to describe this must-have recording on Posi-tone Records. BUY IT. You wont’ regret it!






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Brent Black gives 5 Stars to Doug Webb “Triple Play”…



An old school blowing session that can touch your heart and set you’re hair on fire at the same time!
I love a review that can write itself. Sure, one can take the more theoretical approach to looking at this release but I have yet to meet a person that bought a release based on meter. Doug Webb is joined with tenor titans Joel Frahm and Walt Weiskopf for a real deal old school throw down of tunes both old and new and a swing that is at times relentless!
The covers are classic yet not predictable for this particular setting including “Giant Steps” along with the  Lou Donaldson tune “Alligator Boogaloo.” These two particular tunes are pushed to new heights thanks to organist Brian Charette and drummer Rudy Royston. Frahm and Weiskopf contribute two stellar numbers in “Jazz Car” and “Three’s A Crowd” respectively. Charette shows yet again why he is the organ hot ticket with his solo on “Jazz Car” and drummer Royston is pure finesse each step of the way. Taking the more zen like less is more approach the artistic approach to three simple yet edgy choruses shows why Webb may well be one of the finest tenor players on the scene deserving of far wider recognition. Webb originals such as “Jones” and “Triple Play” are simply icing on the cake and confirm Webb as an artist that is as technically gifted as he artistically proficient!
A hard bop visceral slap to the head has Triple Play virtually flawless.
5 Stars!
Tracks: Jones; Three’s A Crowd; Giant Steps; The Way Things Are; Avalon; Jazz Car; Your Place Or Mine; I Concentrate On You; Pail Blues; Alligator Boogaloo; Triple Play