Citizen Wayne

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One tends to assume that the Citizen Wayne the Nighthawks are referring to is saxophonist Wayne Shorter. However, trumpeter/flugelhornist Reiner Winterschladen and bassist/keyboardist Dal Martino -- who call themselves the Nighthawks -- don't play any Shorter songs on this CD. Except for Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight," all of the material was written by the German improvisers themselves. So Citizen Wayne doesn't sound like a Shorter tribute, although Miles Davis (Winterschladen's biggest influence) was among Shorter's main employers in the 1960s. The music on this album (which tends to be moody) isn't hard bop or post-bop; it's fusion, and the Nighthawks' influences range from Tutu-era Davis to Michael Brecker. Unfortunately, Martino tends to overproduce, which is a mistake for a jazz musician. While heavy production is fine for hip-hop or dance-pop, jazz is better served by spontaneity. But despite that flaw, Citizen Wayne is likable. The writing is generally decent, and Winterschladen isn't a bad musician (although he needs to develop his own style instead of sounding so Davis-like). The Nighthawks would do well to cut back on the electronics and strive for spontaneity, but this German release has more plusses than minuses.

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