Friday, September 21, 2018

Doug Webb - Fast Friends (Posi-Tone, 2018)

This is a strong and well produced album of modern mainstream jazz featuring Doug Webb on tenor saxophone, Michael Dease on trombone, Mitchel Forman on piano, Chris Colangelo on bass and Roy McCurdy on drums. They play tightly arranged versions of originals and jazz standards with energy and wit, beginning with "Last Train to Georgia" which has a bright full band melody, setting a medium uptempo propelling the tenor saxophone to break out for a sunny sounding solo with a pleasant tone, followed by smoothly articulated trombone. The cohesive rhythm section plays well, adding to the flow of the music with its confident nature. The uptempo "Friends Again" has fast flurries of notes propelling the music forward, spotlighting nimble trombone playing in an extended and impressive solo over bubbling rhythm then ceding to the leader's saxophone that carves up the music, playing a very fast and focused improvisation. "High Groove" uses the deep connection of the band to create a large pocket that allows them to come together in a bluesy sound that percolates at a relaxed medium pace, gracefully elaborating on the hard bop concept, with crisp short solo statements. There is fast paced energy at play on "Surfing the Webb" with tight interplay of instruments in the theme and then plenty of space for the leader to stretch out and solo, using the bebop vocabulary as a basis for an excellent tenor saxophone solo. Not to be outdone, there is a sparkling trombone section in response, aided by strong piano, bass and drums, before everyone trades short phrases to close the piece. "Ah-Leu-Cha" is a Charlie Parker song well suited for this unit to create a fine presentation of, playing with confidence and wit, blustery trombone and shiny saxophone adding solos to a firm foundation of piano, bass and drums. The trombonist is appropriately featured on "Dease Things" a fast paced vehicle for quicksilver soloing from Webb, who employs a light and nimble tone and the trombonist who has a little more grit in his approach and uses it well in a memorable feature. After a rippling piano solo, the music comes together with a strong and rapid fire conclusion. They hit another bebop standard  on "A Night in Tunisia" with the trombone brashly intoning the melody as the rhythm section roils beneath him, leading to a solid saxophone solo that connects bop to the modern jazz of today. Fast Friends - amazon.com

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