Charles Pillow / Tim Ries / Danny Walsh

Jam Session, Vol. 27

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Producer Nils Winther taped this meeting of three saxophonists in 1999, yet held it from release for nearly a decade before finally issuing it in late 2008. There is nothing about this date that is substandard, as all three musicians are accomplished players who had few chances to record as leaders at the time of the record date, though they have since released albums of their own. As usual, pianist Andy LaVerne leads the rhythm section and contributes a pair of originals, starting off with the spry "Mixed Message," which hints at a Thelonious Monk-like hook before taking off in a different direction. All three play tenor sax on this track, following the composer's engaging solo with individual contributions. An old warhorse like "You're My Everything" still has possibilities that don't run dry in a 16-minute workout, because of the high caliber of the players. Danny Walsh shows a bit of Phil Woods' influence on alto, followed by Charles Pillow's hard-blowing tenor and Tim Ries' delicious soprano. LaVerne's reharmonization of "What Is This Thing Called Love," with a bossa nova rhythm, proves to be one of the top vehicles of the date. Wayne Shorter's exotic "Ju Ju" is another potent interpretation, with beautiful ensemble passages and burning solos. The CD's centerpiece is the short ballad medley, giving each of the three reed players a solo feature of his own.

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