Out of the Shadows

Chris Vadala

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Out of the Shadows Review

by Ken Dryden

Chris Vadala plays just about every popular reed instrument on his debut recording as a leader. Having worked extensively with fl├╝gelhornist Chuck Mangione, one might expect a more contemporary jazz session, but Vadala begins with a slow blues, "Out of the Shadows," that finds him clearly in the John Coltrane camp on tenor. Another original, "Club Contrafact," is a burning workout, with pianist Mark Andrew Cook switching to organ. He also explores music by past greats, including a brisk run with his wailing alto sax in Cannonball Adderley's seldom-played blues "Sticks" (where he also overdubs baritone), along with a breezy flute feature in Freddie Hubbard's "Little Sunflower" (where he also dubs several different instruments behind the lead voice). He switches to soprano for a heartfelt interpretation of Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood," giving it a bit of a wistful air by opening the piece unaccompanied. Pepe Gonzales' exotic Latin percussion sets up the novel treatment of Wayne Shorter's modal masterpiece "Footprints," with Vadala making a belated entrance after the rest of the band, playing very subtly on soprano. It's a shame that it took Chris Vadala so long to record on his own, but this excellent effort will likely open more opportunities for him to work as a leader.

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