Joe Temperley

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Veteran baritone saxophonist Joe Temperley (who doubles on soprano) is best known for stepping into the huge shoes of Harry Carney with the Mercer Ellington Orchestra and for playing with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Temperley's large tone is not overly heavy, and in fact he can play both rapid lines and in a more relaxed fashion with equal ease. On this set, his fourth CD as a leader for the Scottish Hep label, Temperley is heard in four different settings. Five songs (his "Torpedo" and four swing-era standards) have the saxophonist jamming with a British rhythm section (pianist John Pearce, bassist Andy Cleyndert, and drummer Steve Brown); he cooks on "That Old Feeling" and really stretches out on "East of the Sun." Five ballads feature Temperley's horns and the rhythm section joined by a string quartet and occasionally clarinetist/arranger Frank Griffith. Tony Coe and Temperley both play soprano saxes on "Just Friends" and "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" (blending together surprisingly well), while the leader takes the traditional Scottish folk melody "Hielan' Laddie" as a brief, unaccompanied baritone solo. Throughout, Joe Temperley improvises melodically and his tone is quite appealing and personal. An easily recommended set from one of the unsung greats of the baritone sax.

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