Home at Last

Don Lanphere

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Home at Last Review

by Dave Nathan

The Seattle-based Origin label continues its noble venture to bring as many of the performers from the Northwest's bustling, burgeoning jazz scene to a wider audience. This time the label has teamed erstwhile soprano/tenor saxophone player Don Lanphere with one of the area's more active groups, New Stories. Made up of Marc Seales, Doug Miller, and John Bishop, the trio gives its utmost support to Lanphere on a program of jazz and classic pop standards. This is not an album of four-minutes-and-out tracks. Each tune gets a full melodic and improvisational treatment, with the sax player and the trio operating on the basis of a full and open exchange of interpretive ideas. The get-go tune, "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes," where both Lanphere and Seales play off the whirling drumming of Bishop, portends a session of more than an hour of highly listenable jazz. The rapport among the players is enhanced by the fact that the session was recorded live in the studio. Done over two days, some of the play list was decided on the spot, increasing the chances of inspirational, innovative performances, which is what listeners get. There's no fixin' in the mixin', which these days is too often used to cover the missteps of the participants. All the trio members, especially Seales, listen closely and -- equally as important -- understand the direction Lanphere is taking on each cut. Seales' sparkling solo in answer to the sax player's probing solo on "Alone Together" is an example of this interactive sensitivity. At the same time, Seales can set the pattern for a track, as he opens for Lanphere on a deeply felt "Violets for Your Furs." The veteran sax player hasn't lost a step, as conclusively demonstrated on this highly recommended effort.

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