Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
High Energy Straight Ahead Menza
Kirk Shields | Highland Village, tx United States | 12/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have owned this since it came out on LP many years ago, and it's always been one of my favorite high-energy jazz albums. Menza is in prime form playing his classic, near-frenzied lines on a collection of great tunes including the burning straight-ahead opener "Collage", his great Latin classic "Samba de Rollins", and the intensely grooving "Groove Blues". In addition to his usual tenor playing, he plays some great soprano on "Mz. Liz" and alto flute on "Ballad of the Matador".
Of particular interest to trombonists, Frank Rosolino joins Menza on most of the cuts and is in spectacular form. This album, recorded shortly before his tragic death, shows the maturity of his solos in terms of not only their virtuosity but also his sense of form and beautiful craftmanship.
The rhythm section provides great support and moves the whole recording along in very fine fashion. On the whole, if you love straight-ahead small group jazz with both chops and feeling, you'll love this one!"
Two jazz masters show off
James A. Vedda | Alexandria, VA USA | 10/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Don Menza is one of the most underrated players in jazz. His name should be right up there with tenor sax legends like Zoot Sims, Stan Getz, and Sonny Stitt. When I was studying sax in the 1970s, he was one of the primary influences on my playing due to his work with the Buddy Rich band in the 60s and this album from 1976.
Menza demonstrates his prowess on soprano sax and flute in addition to tenor. There are seven tracks, five of which Menza composed. For six of the tracks, he is joined by Frank Rosolino, one of the most inventive and lyrical trombonists in jazz.
"Collage" is a great opener, just the thing to grab your attention and alert you that you're listening to something special. "Samba de Rollins" is an up-tempo Latin-style piece (spiced up with plenty of extra percussion) that was the exciting opener for side two of the original LP. Menza's mellow side comes through on his flute feature "Ballad of the Matador" and his absolutely gorgeous tenor on "Magnolia Rose" (which has some really nice licks from Rosolino too). It's hard to pick a favorite from this set, but I think it would have to be "Groove Blues," a hard-driving blues that will make you want to pick up whatever instrument you favor and play along. Then again, "April's Fool" has a bright Latin feel that's also a lot of fun... I think you should get this CD and judge for yourself.
The packaging duplicates the original cover art, interior photos, and liner notes, although the notes are small enough to make a munchkin squint. This is an import, so there's also an insert with liner notes in Japanese."