Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Swinging, Satisfying Baritone Sax Jazz
John Tapscott | Canada | 11/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gary Smulyan's "Real Deal" was recorded in 2002 and released in 2003, though I only heard it for the first time recently. I am certainly glad I did, for it is an excellent bop based CD of swinging jazz by one of the very best baritone sax players in jazz today. Smulyan's baritone style is rooted in that of his idol Pepper Adams, but his sound is perhaps slightly lighter than Adams' and sometimes even hints at the approach of Gerry Mulligan.
The music is quite straightforward and covers a wide style of swinging grooves from the burning "Young Afro Brown" to the ballad "Satan Wears a Satin Gown,"with much in-between. The program is a mix of attractive originals by Smulyan, Adams, and Thad Jones as well as some obscure but intriguing and tweaked standards. Smulyan's medium slow blues "Sassy Missy" closes the CD on a deeply satisfying note. "All My Life" is played by Smulyan with bass and drums only and this track along with "Satan" strongly reveals his gift for melodic improvising.
Smulyan chose a superb band for this recording. Joining him on the front line is the lyrical and fluent trumpeter/flugelhornist Joe Magnarelli. The rhythm section of Mike LeDonne, Dennis Irwin and Kenny Washington is consistently tight and swinging, and each makes the most of his solo spots. Pianist LeDonne is an especially fine soloist and comper.
Though I am late in coming to this CD, I am pleased to report that it is one of the most enjoyable and swinging recordings I have heard in quite a while. This highly recommended recording invites many repeat hearings."