Jed Levy

One Night at the Kitano

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Jed Levy has been a part of the New York City jazz scene for some time, with recording credits as a sideman with Jaki Byard & the Apollo Stompers, Peter Leitch, and Steve Davis, as well as a number of recordings as a leader, though he may have slipped under the radar for many jazz fans. But this veteran tenor saxophonist merits more attention, being a gifted composer and talented improviser. On this occasion, a live set at the Kitano, he's joined by the superb pianist Bill Mays (who has recorded extensively as a leader, as well as serving Gerry Mulligan, Sarah Vaughan, and many others) plus bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Billy Drummond, two in-demand sideman. He picks up the tempo of Billy Strayhorn's "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing" ever so slightly, playing spaciously and lyrically, adding a tag of Duke Ellington's "The Single Petal of a Rose" as he wraps the performance. Levy's "A Great Week" works its way systematically through numerous keys, an experiment that has been done by other jazz composers, but rarely in so swinging a fashion. "Match Point" is a delightfully breezy samba, while the finale, "Blues Excerpt," is an on-the-spot improvisation that concludes the set with plenty of sizzle, leaving the listener wanting more.

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