IN A BLUE MOOD
Jeff Rupert – George Garzone The Ripple
Jeff Rupert – George Garzone
“The Ripple,” the title of the new CD by tenor saxophonists Jeff Rupert and George Garzone, refers “to the far-reaching effect of Lester Young’s voice in music.” Rupert is the director of The Flying Horse Band out of the University of Central Florida’s Jazz Program. Besides being a master of the tenor saxophone, Garzone is a revered educator, with noted students including Joshua Redman, Branford Marsalis, and Donny McCaslin. Besides being educators, they are both superior tenor saxophonists. Backing them is a first-rate rhythm section of Richard Drexler on piano, Jeremy Allen on bass, and Marty Morrell on drums, all of whom have a lengthy association with Rupert.
There are no compositions by Young, or songs recorded by him, on this album. Instead, it features pieces recorded or composed by some of the musicians influenced by Young, including Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Eddie Harris, Zoot Sims, Wayne Shorter, and Joe Henderson. Of course, tenor sax pairings go back to the Basie days, and in recent years we have been graced with the likes of Johnny Griffin and Lockjaw Davis, Dexter Gordon and Gene Ammons, and Al Cohn and Zoot Sims. Rupert and Garzone are another stellar tenor sax pairing.
The music on this recording is exquisite starting with a marvelous bossa nova “Bahia” first recorded by Stan Getz, and if both display ties to Lester Young’s Legacy, they each have their own voice. Rupert perhaps employs a slightly more legato approach, while Garzone’s attack at times shows his incorporation of aspects of the styles of Coltrane and Rollins. This is most obvious on Garzone’s startling opening to “Stardust.” Rupert’s original, “GO-GO,” is a brisk swinging number that derives from a Lockjaw Davis tune. Other highlights of this recording include a terrific rendition of “Without a Song“; the relaxed swing of “The Red Door” from Gerry Mulligan and Zoot Sims; a relaxed take of Lionel Hampton’s “Red Top” that opens with the rhythm section quoting Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage”; and the inspired “Hoboken,” a contrafact derived from Monk’s “Hackensack.”
After a spirited “Lester Left Town,” this recording closes with an unaccompanied duet by the two, “Alone Together.” Rupert and Garzone are superb saxophonists playing some marvelous songs and backed by a first-rate rhythm section. The result is this extraordinary recording.