Various Artists

CTI Masters of the Saxophone

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Besides reissuing stacks of newly acquired CTI albums in the 1980s, CBS Records also compiled a short, capriciously compiled series of CTI anthologies devoted to virtuosos of one instrument or another. Unlike the Masters of the Keyboard volume, where almost all of the tracks were led by someone other than the keyboardist, at least half of the tracks on the saxophone volume are from albums led by saxophonists. Compiler John Snyder proves once again that producer/label chief Creed Taylor had an ear for saleable jazz talent, as several smooth jazz purveyors of the future can be heard here under often far more satisfying musical conditions than their hit records later. Among the leaders, Stanley Turrentine's often-reissued CTI classic "Sugar" is at the top of the deck, and Hank Crawford closes the disc with the typically truckin' "Mr. Blues" and drawn-out suave soul of "I'm Just a Lucky So-and-So." Joe Farrell is featured on the long, funky "Upon This Rock," and while he is the leader of the session, guitarist Joe Beck almost steals the show with his rock fuzz-box guitar, and a rhythm guitar dominates the sound. Grover Washington, Jr. can be sampled, however briefly, in full cry on Idris Muhammad's "Power of Soul," though Snyder apologizes profusely for not having access to Grover's Kudu sessions as a leader (Motown owned them at the time). David Sanborn gets two tracks, playing as a featured soloist on Beck's ubiquitous Beck & Sanborn album, and a slyly soulful Joe Henderson checks in as the lead voice on a Ron Carter session. Unfortunately no dates are provided and the indications of the albums from which these tracks came are incomplete, conditions that would be corrected on the subsequent keyboard sampler.

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