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Walt Weiskopf “Overdrive” is the main course today on the Jazz Breakfast…

Walt Weiskopf – Overdrive

overdrive(Posi-Tone PR8126)

Despite the fact that this is his 14th album as leader, Weiskopf might be best known outside of pure jazz circles as the current tenor saxophonist of choice for Steely Dan. As a successor to such luminaries of the most elegantly curved crook as Chris Potter,  Pete Christlieb, Tom Scott and Michael Brecker, you can expect the right mix of power and meticulousness, and that is just what you get.

There is a moment in Like Mike, the second track on this sextet set, when the band goes into a set of Dannish chords, and Weiskopf is joined in the improvisational melee by guitarist Yotam Silberstein, but elsewhere his sometime employers are not discernible as an influence.

All the tunes are Weiskopf originals apart from a Latin-tinged What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?

This is straight-ahead, modern jazz with loads of fast, muscular playing, though the pace does relax forJewel And A Flower, and for Waltz For Dad. The addition of Behn Gillece’s vibraphone to the piano trio and guitar band provides some tasty timbres, and Gillece is especially flavourful on the Waltz.

I doubt Weiskopf will ever reach the popular heights of those Dan predecessors – he is more engaged in educational stuff a lot of the time – but this is still a most enjoyable cruise in overdrive with lots of space to showcase the leader’s no-bullshit approach.