Saxophonist Sharel Cassity began to play jazz as a teenager growing up in Iowa City, before moving to New York to further her education and take a shot at the big time. She sounds remarkably composed on her first recording recording for the new label JLC, playing up-tempo post bop with a quicksilver flair and ballads with a gentle and confident poise. On this album she plays alto and soprano saxophones with a little flute, accompanied by Jeremy Pelt on trumpet, Michael Dease on trombone, Orrin Evans on piano, Dwayne Burno on bass, E.J. Strickland on drums and a few guests sitting in on certain tracks to fill out the arrangements. “Call To Order” is piping hot modern jazz with a nicely fluid solo, as is “No Turning Back” which features swirling saxophone against a fast paced groove and a nice piano interlude. “Love’s Lament” is a patient and thoughtful ballad with a nice hint of Johnny Hodges sweet lyricism in the solo. The other horns frame her nicely, giving a fine velvety backdrop to explore with a languorous yet thoughtful solo. The most remarkable track comes at the end of the album where Cassity to takes to soprano saxophone for a wonderfully exploratory rendition of the vastly under-rated trumpeter Charles Tolliver’s composition “On the Nile.” She builds an exotic Middle Eastern tinged sound and the wide open nature of the composition clearly appeals to her. Sharel Cassity is a young musician to keep an eye on. Her music and temperament is confident without being smug, and she’s open to all the possibilities that improvised jazz offer. Hopefully we will hear more from her soon.
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