Wayne Escoffery & Veneration

Veneration

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Wayne Escofferey's third CD as a leader (and first for Savant) shows a focused musician who exudes confidence in every performance. With a solid band including veterans Joe Locke on vibes and drummer Lewis Nash, plus bassist Hans Glawisching, the tenor saxophonist is heard in portions of two nights recorded at Smoke. Following a brief solo introduction by Locke, Escofferey delivers the goods with a powerful take of Dizzy Gillespie' infrequently performed "I Waited for You," adding a wild improvisation by the vibraphonist. But the pièce de résistance is a pair of Booker Little compositions, including a turbocharged navigation of "Bee Vamp" (first recorded at the Five Spot by Little in a band with Eric Dolphy and Mal Waldron) and an equally inspired treatment of "Looking Ahead" in which Escofferey's expressiveness reaches new heights. The leader is also no slouch interpreting ballads, delivering a soulful take of "Isfahan" (with some delicious accompaniment by Glawisching). Escofferey switches to soprano sax for his one original, a moody, captivating piece. Beautifully recorded in the tiny New York City night club, this CD will easily stand the test of time. Highly recommended!

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