Multi-instrumentalist, educator, and media producer Tony Vacca teams up with a born and bred New Orleans rhythm section trio for a session of music focusing on Vacca's way with tunes possessing beguiling melody lines. Whether they be Vacca originals (there are six here), the classic standard of all classic standards, "Body and Soul," or Stanley Turrentine's blues "Sugar," Vacca and company capture the honeyed essence each tune is designed to convey. On "Don Quixote," Vacca's wispy flute wafts airily on this lovely ballad. Instead of the sounds of Spain one would expect to hear on this tune named after one of that country's fictional heroes, it has some of the exotic accouterments of music from the East. "Shoe Suede Blues" is a vehicle for the sole appearance of trumpet player Irvin Mayfield. "No More School" allows Vacca to surge forward on this bop-tinged piece with Latin percussive undertones. As on most cuts, Peter Martin's eloquent rendering on piano gets plenty of solo space after an initial chorus by Vacca. On "You Don't Know What Love Is," Vacca moves back and forth between tenor and alto. Like so many saxophone players before him, Vacca pays homage to Coleman Hawkins' celebrated 1939 recording of "Body and Soul," which propelled the tenor sax into a major jazz instrument. Vacca opens with an impressive cadenza before moving into calm, warm virtuosity. Vacca's sax tone and style show the influence of many practitioners on the horn who have preceded him. One hears the biting ballad style of John Coltrane mixed with the distinctive timbre of Ben Webster, along with references to players in between the two. The result is a performer of considerable gifts with his own welcome message on the curved horn. Recommended.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan