Thursday, April 08, 2021

Jim Snidero - Live at the Deer Head inn (Savant Records, 2021)

Alto saxophonist Jim Snidero got a rare opportunity during the cursed plague year of 2020, he was able to assemble a quartet for a safe, socially distanced performance at the Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA. Rounding out an excellent quartet with Orrin Evans on piano, Peter Washington on bass and Joe Farnsworth on drums, and selecting from a repertoire of standards, the group made the most of this opportunity. Charlie Parker’s “Now’s the Time” is an excellent opener, with the musicians swinging hard on this uptempo bebop number. The band is tight, and the saxophonist is strong and agile. The group produces a pleasant version of standard “Autumn Leaves” incorporating an impressive bass solo, by Washington, who demonstrates an impeccable technique and sense of time. Snidero dedicates "Old Man River" to the Black Lives Matter movement and backs it up with a genuine and emotional performance shaded by gospel and blues. Orrin Evans, on a busman's holiday from The Bad Plus contributes a stellar piano solo to "Bye Bye Blackbird," where he is featured at length. Duke Pearson's "Idle Moments" was indelibly featured on a 1965 Grant Green album of the same name, and this group does a fine version of their own, creating a great ballad feeling, quiet and spare with soft saxophone punctuated by curls of stronger sound, shadowed by deft brushes. "Who Can I Turn To" shows the leader playing his saxophone in a very melodic manner alongside elastic bass and very melodic bright piano. The group develops a fine uptempo performance, including a delightful bass solo framed by piano and gentle percussion. An elegant lengthy solo piano opening introduces "My Old Flame" which evolves into a tender ballad with longing sax, brushes and deeply felt bass. Snidero has lovely saxophone tone in his solo section during this patient ballad and short tag ending. The band concludes their set with a fast exploration of "Yesterdays" with the rhythm section providing the urgency as the three boil at a fast pace met by some ripe saxophone playing and a strident push to to the conclusion. This must have been a real treat for those who were in the audience, something that we may never take for granted again, four talented musicians coming together to play music in the moment live and in person. Live at the Deer Head Inn -

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