Various Artists

Texas Tenors

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Texas isn't the only place that's known for big-toned, hard-blowing tenor saxophonists--Chicago is equally famous in that area -- but it's certainly one of the first places that comes to mind when the subject of tenor playing comes up. Whether they are from Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Austin or elsewhere -- whether their forte is hard bop, soul-jazz, post-bop or swing -- Texas' tenor players have been known for having fat tones and swinging aggressively. Spanning 1946-1969, this good to excellent compilation spotlights over a dozen tenor men who had some connection to the Lone Star State. They might not have spent their entire lives in Texas, but some type of Lone Star connection was there. Tenor fans will recognize most of the saxmen, who range from Arnett Cobb, King Curtis, and Illinois Jacquet, to Booker Ervin, Budd Johnson, and Don Wilkerson. James Clay and David "Fathead" Newman form a two-tenor front line for a 1960 interpretation of Babs Gonzales' "Wide Open Spaces," while Clifford Scott is featured on bluesman Jimmy Witherspoon's "Cane River" from the same year. And Wilton Felder of Crusaders fame is in fine form on organist Charles Kynard's 1969 number "Stomp" (which boasts Joe Pass on guitar). No, Texas Tenors isn't the last word on tenor men from the Lone Star State; but it's a rewarding collection that's well worth picking up.

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