Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Doug Webb - Triple Play (Posi-Tone, 2015)

Doug Webb is a well-rounded saxophone player with several albums to his credit as a leader for Posi-Tone as well as high-profile appearances along side pop musicians and writing for television. On this album he is joined by Walt Weiskopf and Joel Frahm on tenor saxophones, Brian Charette on organ and Rudy Royston on drums. The three saxophones referenced in the title work well as they swap in and out as the situation permits. “Jones” opens the album in a bright, swinging fashion with the saxophone solos working well, one player with a lighter tone and another with a darker one contrasting nicely. The saxophones take turns soloing before returning together for the final melody. John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” is taken at the appropriately blasting tempo with saxophonists playing hot-potato with the solos, which are lightning quick but still well controlled. “The Way Things Are” contains more vibrant swing, with organ and drums bubbling underneath and tight playing by the saxophonists at the beginning and at the end. Charette proves that he is fleet of foot, keeping the bass pedals moving impressively on “Avalon” where he and Royston finally get a spot to shine in between the blazing saxophone solos. “Your Place or Mine” keeps the modern hard bop flag flying with confident saxophone plowing the field laid by Charette and Royston, who glide out for a moment in-between the swapping saxophones. Things begin to slow things down a bit on “Pali Blues” leveling out at a more medium pace, but as soon as the saxophones start spooling out their solos and the tempo climbs higher and higher. The finale “Triple Play” lifts off in a Jazz Messengers type fashion as the saxophonists play the opening theme together and then separate as the organ and drums simmer relentlessly underneath. You can hear Webb’s penchant for developing TV themes into pleasing earworms on the this album, and while the format of melody – saxophone solos – melody gets a little samey at times, they do it so well that it is hard to quibble with. Triple Play -

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