Saturday, March 21, 2015

Jim Snidero - Main Street (Savant, 2015)

Jim Snidero is a veteran alto saxophonist and composer with several albums to his credit. On this album he leads a fine mainstream jazz band consisting of Fabian Almazan on piano, Linda Oh on bass and Rudy Royston on drums. Snidero tours widely, and that is relevant to this album as the song titles presents a travelogue of sorts. I grew up not far from there so “Post Time Saratoga” rings a bell, with a fast paced feeling evoking the famous racetrack and the strong swing of the song reflecting the excellent jazz scene of that area. “Duluth at Noon” leads of the album with a strong and efficient groove, with Linda Oh and Rudy Royston expanding and contracting their playing like a living being and allowing Snidero and Almazan to range freely through the music. “Las Vegas” has a lush opening for solo piano, before subtle bass and drums fold in with slow and stately saxophone allowing the rhythm to carry the music. “Oxford Square” has a patient and supple sound, allowing for Snidero’s ripe saxophone to make a positive statement ably supported by the rhythm unit. The well know standard “Autumn in New York” is presented as a stately ballad, yearning in its emotion and a bit melancholic. Snidero thrives at this tempo, not rushing or forcing, but allowing the melody to carry him and his elaborations on it. A fine bass feature opens “The Streets of Laredo” before the rest of the band comes charging in, building a strong uptempo foundation. The music is fast and hard and develops into a ripe situation with Snidero circling and swooping while Rudy Royston drives the music relentlessly forward and is rewarded by taking an excellent drum solo. This is the highlight of the album, and everybody gets a turn in the spotlight including Almazan who shows powerful mastery of the keyboard, before everybody comes together for a storming conclusion. This is a fine middle of the road jazz LP that should appeal to a wide range of fans. The music is well played and the musicians are fully engaged creating in the moment. Main Street -

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