Jazz Blues Magazine reviews Jack Brandfield’s “I’ll Never Be The Same”

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by Ron Weinstock

Jack Brandfield

Born in New York City in 1998, tenor saxophonist
Jack Brandfield debuts with a drummer-less trio album
backed by guitarist Randy Napoleon and bassist
Rodney Whitaker. The latter two were on the Michigan
State University faculty, which Brandfield attended while
March • April 2021 • Issue 395 Page Nine
earning a B.M degree. Before attending Michigan State,
Brandfield was a student at the Laguardia School For
the Arts, and then at Lincoln Center’s Youth Academy,
he worked in ensembles directed by Ted Nash, Vincent
Gardner, and Melissa Aldana. Presently he lives
in Miami, where he is a graduate student at the Frost
School of Music at The University of Miami.

About this album, he writes, “The title track, “I’ll
Never Be The Same,” speaks to the inspiration behind
the making of my debut album. For the past four years,
I’ve had the great pleasure to be under the mentorship
of two of my favorite musicians, Rodney Whitaker and
Randy Napoleon. The knowledge and insight I received
from them on what it means to swing, how to present
a melody, and the importance of carrying the torch for
this great American art form will stay with me for the
rest of my life. The making of this album is a celebration
of the friendship and bonds I built with them.”

This statement describes the music on this recording,
which is like a graduate thesis on the American
Songbook. Brandfield brings a full-bodied tone and
plenty of warmth to the standards he interprets, with
Napoleon and Whitaker providing supple support.
Listening to his rendition of “Over the Rainbow” or the
title track,” one is struck by his tender melodicism.
He certainly can swing as he exhibits on “Lover Come
Back to Me” and “On a Slow Boat to China.” There is
the delight of his rendition of Thad Jones’ “Bossa Nova
Ova,” the sublime pleasures of the “Ballad Melody,”
and a superb performance of Ellington’s “Do Nothing
Till You Hear From Me.”

Brandfield also stated about this recording, “The
drumless trio is a sound that has always captivated
me since hearing “Stan Getz Meets The Oscar Peterson
Trio” at a young age. That album was a gateway
for me to hear all the great tenor players of the 20th
Century, such as Ben Webster, Johnny Griffin, and Zoot
Sims, who are a few of my favorites. I have always tried
to emulate their ability to sing through the horn with
confidence and a sense of subtlety and beauty. On the
record, I pay tribute to these inspirations by attempting
to do what they did best, presenting my favorite
melodies with my own voice.”

Like those great legends who inspired him, Jack
Brandfield indeed sings through his horn, and this
album introduces us to a marvelous new tenor sax
voice that we look forward to hearing more from in the

Kari Gaffney

Kari Gaffney

Since 1988 Kari-On Productions has helped artists get an even footing in the industry through jazz promotion in the genres of Jazz, World & Latin Jazz through Jazz Radio and Publicity. Why do we do both, because they compliment each other, and we care about fiscal longevity for the artist.

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