JAKE SASLOW, CROSBY STREET


Saxophonist Jake Saslow does a terrific job on his debut album, “Crosby Street” (14th Street Records) which sounds like the work of a confident veteran. He has a relaxed sound, tuneful yet conversational and the recording spotlights a leader with an extraordinarily empathetic band. And Saslow gives these musicians plenty of space to bring his compositions to life. The group includes guitarist Mike Moreno whose fragrant solos provide smooth grooves (“Early Riser”) and jangly punctuation (“Lucky 13”). Pianist Fabian Almazan also impresses with harmonic invention (“Taiga Forest”) and a gift for clustering notes that bloom with understated beauty. The saxophonist has a radio-ready cover in Horace Silver’s “Lonely Woman” that pares the band to a dazzling trio with bassist Joe Martin and the drummer Marcus Gilmore. Saslow doesn’t play loud, never showboats by reaching for the high notes or confuses proficiency with theatrics, which in the end defines his playing as grounded and self-assured. Saslow’s also a persuasive balladeer, closing the album with “Until Next Time,” a heartfelt track that begins with Trane-like licks over a gentle groove and carries you out under a blanket of swing courtesy of Martin’s walking bass, Gilmore’s sleek beats and Moreno’s gorgeous licks. (7 tracks; 52:07 minutes)

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JAZZ IN SPACE: JAKE SASLOW, CROSBY STREET

Saturday, December 3, 2011

JAKE SASLOW, CROSBY STREET


Saxophonist Jake Saslow does a terrific job on his debut album, “Crosby Street” (14th Street Records) which sounds like the work of a confident veteran. He has a relaxed sound, tuneful yet conversational and the recording spotlights a leader with an extraordinarily empathetic band. And Saslow gives these musicians plenty of space to bring his compositions to life. The group includes guitarist Mike Moreno whose fragrant solos provide smooth grooves (“Early Riser”) and jangly punctuation (“Lucky 13”). Pianist Fabian Almazan also impresses with harmonic invention (“Taiga Forest”) and a gift for clustering notes that bloom with understated beauty. The saxophonist has a radio-ready cover in Horace Silver’s “Lonely Woman” that pares the band to a dazzling trio with bassist Joe Martin and the drummer Marcus Gilmore. Saslow doesn’t play loud, never showboats by reaching for the high notes or confuses proficiency with theatrics, which in the end defines his playing as grounded and self-assured. Saslow’s also a persuasive balladeer, closing the album with “Until Next Time,” a heartfelt track that begins with Trane-like licks over a gentle groove and carries you out under a blanket of swing courtesy of Martin’s walking bass, Gilmore’s sleek beats and Moreno’s gorgeous licks. (7 tracks; 52:07 minutes)

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