Monday, August 02, 2010

Ken Fowser and Behn Gillece - Little Echo (Posi-Tone, 2010)

Tenor saxophonist Ken Fowser and vibraphonist Behn Gillece have been playing jazz together since they were growing up in Philadelphia. Now based in New York City, the co-leaders are joined on this album by Rick Germanson on piano, Ugonna Okegwo on bass and Quincy Davis on drums. The result is a classy album of mainstream jazz with a bit of a Bags & Trane vibe, with bright sounding boppish saxophone and light, nimble vibes leading the way. The opening "Resolutions" sets the tone for the remainder of the album, establishing a medium tempo-ed swinging groove, and setting the stage for a series of short round robin solos. "Sap" shows the band playing in an uptempo and probing nature, spinning off a swinging vibraphone solo and a well controlled saxophone solo. "The Dog Days" slows the proceedings down to a ballad tempo, featuring spare and open light sounding vibes, and a slow and languid saxophone solo reflecting the lazy grandeur of the title. "One Step at a Time" has a sharp and classy aura centering on some deeply swinging saxophone that spirals out at length on a fine statement. While all of the tracks on the album proper are originals, a bonus track included in the eMusic download is a real treat, the standard "A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square" taken as a slow and tender ballad with Fowser building a patient and thoughtful solo that really tells a story and makes the melodic nature of their improvisation stand out. This was a solidly swinging album of mainstream jazz from some promising young musicians. On the whole it is classy and well performed and recommended to mainstream jazz fans. Little Echo -

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