Campbell Ryga


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Musicians tread on dangerous ground when they do tributes to established greats by playing material associated with them and similar instrumentation. Fortunately, this salute to Cannonball Adderley's work of the 1950s with his cornetist brother, Nat Adderley, by alto saxophonist Campbell Ryga is no pale carbon copy. Ryga, whose own style leans a bit toward that of Phil Woods, has a first-rate quintet himself, with trumpeter Brad Turner, pianist Chris Sigerson, bassist Torben Oxbo, and drummer Blaine Wikjord. It is surprising to discover how many of these tunes initially recorded by Adderley have rarely (if ever) been recorded by anyone else: Jaki Byard's snappy "Room #251" (which the composer himself evidently never taped), Gene Wright's "Cobbwebb" (a feature for Wikjord), "Sam's Tune" (naturally, a showcase for the group's bassist), and the Nat Adderley-Sam Jones collaboration "Spectacular" (based upon the changes to "There Will Never Be Another You"). Sigerson's thoughtful piano backs the leader's captivating alto on their rendition of the Rodgers & Hart standard "You Are Too Beautiful," while Turner's feature in a loping treatment of "Loverman" is also exquisite. Ryga's one original written for the date is the humorously titled "Toiling in Obscurity," which is actually an up-tempo cooker. Maybe the title selected for this CD sounds a little brash, but it is easily recommended.

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