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Sound Bites review of “Uptown”….

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Wayne Escoffery
Uptown (Posi-Tone)

Rating: ★★★½☆

This well-named disc from tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery pulses with urban energy and old-school soul, contrasting firmly modernistic jazz statements with swinging feel-good grooves. Escoffery’s solos are like towering monoliths, huge, dense and hard as stone, as his notes spill over in seemingly endless streams as the rest of his quartet offers thick, buoyant support. Organist Gary Versace sounds flat-out retro on several tracks, skipping with a happy nimbleness over solid foot-pedal basslines straight out of the 1960s, but also adds mystery to the exotic “Road from Eilat/Gulf of Aqaba” and the flinty “No Desert.” Avi Rothbard keeps things cool and groovy on guitar, gliding through Jason Brown’s lively drumming in “Cross Bronx” and the catchy, danceable “Nu Soul.” No new ground is broken here, but this disc will satisfy an itch for the classic, and Escoffery’s titanic sax sound is always welcome.

-Forrest Dylan Bryant



Written by editor

January 10th, 2010 at 11:28 am

Posted in Reviews

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