Michael Doherty’s Music Log
by Michael Doherty
Jack Brandfield: “I’ll Never Be The Same” – Saxophonist Jack Brandfield’s debut album, I’ll Never Be The Same, contains mostly standards, along with one original composition. The tunes chosen are delivered with love and joy by the fantastic trio of Jack Brandfield on tenor saxophone, Randy Napoleon on guitar, and Rodney Whitaker on bass.
The album opens with a sweet and romantic rendition of Jerome Kern’s “Nobody Else But Me,” Jack Brandfield’s saxophone singing merrily and warmly. Halfway through there is a vibrant guitar lead, followed by a strong lead on bass. The trio then delivers a delightful rendition of Hank Jones’ “Vignette,” the pleasant work on saxophone at the beginning immediately lifting my spirits. The album’s sole original composition is “Where Leaves Change,” a beautiful piece that has a nostalgic and wistful quality. People here in Los Angeles sometimes say they miss the seasons, and indeed there is something undeniably wonderful about autumn in New England, something romantic about it, that tugs at our hearts. This track captures some of that sensation, some of that warmth.
There is a timeless vibe about it, as with the best of the standards. And speaking of that, Jack Brandfield follows his original tune with a rendition of “Lover Come Back To Me” that begins tenderly and gently, then picks up in energy and becomes a joyful number. “I’ll Never Be The Same,” the album’s title track, also has a charming warmth. There is something friendly and endearing about these tracks, particularly on something like “On A Slow Boat To China,” which features some excellent work on guitar. Randy Napoleon sits out “Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me” so the track focuses on Rodney Whitaker’s work on bass, including a good solo, and the way the bass interacts with the saxophone. Then “Over The Rainbow” features just Jack Brandfield and Randy Napoleon, this pretty rendition beginning with a guitar solo and including a saxophone solo near the end. This album is scheduled to be released on April 2, 2021.