Jim Snidero / Dave Pietro / Mike DiRubbo

SteepleChase Jam Session, Vol. 29

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Steeplechase remains one of the few labels dedicated to recording studio jam sessions and this 29th volume in the series shows that it is hardly a dying tradition. Alto saxophonists Jim Snidero, Dave Pietro, and Mike DiRubbo make up the front line, with the rhythm section headed by label favorite Andy LaVerne on piano, bassist Steve LaSpina, and drummer Billy Drummond. Unlike many record dates, Steeplechase makes the effort to identify the soloists in order on each track, which is helpful with three players of the same instrument. Grant Green's snappy bop vehicle "Matador" proves to be a stimulating opener, while Bobby Hutcherson's light, sauntering "Little B's Poem" has lush ensemble work and a sparkling opening solo by LaVerne. Neither of these tunes has been recorded frequently, though they are familiar to seasoned jazz fans. The prolific LaVerne always has a host of his compositions available for blowing sessions, and this one is no exception. The percolating bop tune "Whispering High," the intricate post-bop "Firewire," and an infectious blues, "Desolate Share," all prove to be perfect pieces for extended workouts. As usual, the centerpiece of the date is a ballad medley showcasing each saxophonist individually, Snidero in an emotional take of "It's Easy to Remember," Pietro in a gorgeous take of Mal Waldron's "Soul Eyes," and DiRubbo in a heartfelt take of Frank Lacy's "Samba de Stacy."

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