Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Magical music from an underappreciated English saxophonist
Jan P. Dennis | Monument, CO USA | 02/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tony Coe is a musician far too little known this side of the Atlantic. His incredibly broad resume includes stints with the Humphrey Littleton Orchestra and the Clarke-Boland Big Band, playing on all the Pink Panther music, leading a number of his own small groups (with top English players like Brian Lemon, Phil Seamen, and Steve Arguelles), being a member of Franz Kogelmann's Monoblue Quartet, being a featured soloist with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, being a member of the remarkable English fusion outfit The Lonely Bears (check out their three discs), and recording with players as diverse as Tony Oxley and Roger Kellaway. Thus he spans almost the entire musical spectrum from pop to classical, from mainstream to avant-garde jazz. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate in music by the University of Kent, and won the prestigious JAZZPAR International Award whose recipients include such giants as David Murray, John Tchicai, and Chris Potter. I have about a dozen discs featuring his stellar playing, and this is, hands down, the finest.The glorious music on Canterbury Song represents one of those straight-ahead sessions that manages to rise far above the typical post-bop outing and soar into regions of breathtaking enchantment. The disc opens with the magnificent title cut, a Coe composition written expressly to be played for the evening that celebrated his reception of the honorary doctorate. Featuring a very attractive melody that cleverly combines a gentle Latin flow with an English folksong sensibility, it's a clarion statement that the proceedings will be operating at the very highest level. Everyone perfectly catches the vibe, and Coe knocks off a magnificently architectural solo. The rest of the music, a combination of more Coe originals and some very carefully chosen standards (Monk, Evans, Styne-Khan) matches the relaxed intensity and highest-level playing of the opener. Coe has an uncanny ability to immediately lock into the particular feeling each selection articulates even while he completely makes it his own.There's a companion session also on Hot House recorded a day earlier (unfortunately, not carried by Amazon), featuring the exact same musicians (the great Horace Parlan, piano; Benny Bailey, a huge but relatively unsung player, on trumpet; Jimmy Woode, bass; and the inimitable Idris Muhammad, drums), this time led by Bailey, that is also very much worth picking up--if you can find it. These Coe/Bailey discs remind me a lot of two great recordings featuring Bobby Watson and John Hicks, Love Remains (Bobby's gig) and Naima's Love Song (John's gig). All were recorded in the late eighties, all feature veteran musicians at the top of their game, and all are really, really special. And if I had to choose a favorite, it just might be Canterbury Song. Do give it a listen."