Walter Blanding

The Olive Tree

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On tenor saxophonist Walter Blanding's debut as a leader, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra member enlists the services of drummer Rodney Green and fellow LCJO members trumpeter Ryan Kisor, pianist Farid Barron, and bassist Rodney Whitaker to perform four originals, three jazz classics, and two standards. Only 28 at the time of this recording, Blanding's sound is not as heavy as Mark Shim or as light as Mark Turner, but he is a solid tenor player in the tradition of Hank Mobley. Favorites include up-tempo burners "Never Too Late" and "One Day Before Tomorrow," featuring Kisor's crisp tone and aggressive attack, the joyous swing of Thelonius Monk's "Worry Later," and the hard shuffle of Wayne Shorter's "Charcoal Blues," featuring Green's dynamic drumming. This is a very promising debut from one of the original Tough Young Tenors.

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