by Susan Frances
Album Review: I’ll Never Be the Same from Jack Brandfield
Album: I’ll Never Be the Same
Artist: Jack Brandfield
Label: Gut Strings Records
Cool jazz finds another recruit in saxophonist-interpreter Jack Brandfield. His latest release I’ll Never Be the Same is a pleasing elixir on the senses with reworkings of a handful of jazz standards. Accompanied by Randy Napoleon on guitar and Rodney Whitaker on bass, the smooth strut of Brandfield’s music purveys a succor effect. Traditional bebop idioms can be heard in his verses in addition to his impulse to improvise, presenting ear-catching trajectories along the melodic progressions.
“Nobody Else But Me,” a music score written by Jerome Kern, brings out Brandfield’s charismatic personality as his saxophone soars with vibrant swirls and twists that keep the melody active. The silky tresses of Brandfield’s sax trotting along “Vignette” produce a merriment that leaves fond impressions on listeners, which then slows to a slumber-like strut through “Where Leaves Change.” Napoleon’s finely threaded guitar chords add to the reposing atmosphere as Whitabker’s bass induce a hypnotic vibration along the melody.
The tempo picks up a few notches on “Lover Come Back To Me,” a popular song composed by Sigmund Romberg. The melody’s catchy shuffle brims with a sense of love, joy and tranquility. Going forward, the steamy ethers puffing from Brandfields saxophone along “I’ll Never Be The Same” bask listeners in jolly aesthetics as Napoleon’s brushed guitar strings cradle the melody with a sensual touch. The bopping tempo coursing through “On A Slow Boat To China,” a standard written by Frank Loesser, is fraught with thrusting saxophone toots and pumping bass pulls as Napoleon’s gentle guitar riffs soften the adventurous mood with a touch of comfort.
A sense of love, joy, and tranquility radiates in every track. Jack Brandfield, while still in his early twenties, has mastered the properties of cool jazz and bebop. His music shows traits of traditional, modern, and improvised jazz. Brandfield and crew have the means to captivate audiences, luring them into sheer pleasure.
Jack Brandfield: tenor saxophone
Randy Napoleon: guitar
Rodney Whitaker: bass