Waltz for Grace

Steve Williamson

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Waltz for Grace Review

by Scott Yanow

This CD was the recording debut of British tenor and soprano saxophonist Steve Williamson. At 25, Williamson displayed an original tenor sound and, although some of his soloing is in the Greg Osby/Gary Thomas "M Base" mode, he was not limited to that abstract style of improvising. His soprano (heard at its best on the uptempo "Mandela") is just as strong as his tenor but this CD is not a total success. Many of the originals are little more than vamps and some are quite dull (such as "Synthesis" and "Hummingbird"). "How High the Bird" is an intriguing yet unsatisfying version of "How High the Moon." An impressive soloist but not an accomplished composer at this point, Steve Williamson's A Waltz for Grace (which has a guest vocal by Abbey Lincoln on the title cut) is a good starting point but not an essential acquisition.

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