Описание CD

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  Наименование CD :
   Soprano Sax

Год издания : 1996

Компания звукозаписи : Original Jazz, (ru)

Музыкальный стиль : Cool, Bop

Время звучания : 46:25

  Комментарий (рецензия) :

CD, стоящие на полке рядом : Jazz (Saxophone - Bop)      

Jazz soprano saxophone is mainly associated with its originator in the idiom Sidney Bechet and later John Coltrane who brought the instrument into a new realm with the success of "My Favorite Things." Even though this was the first time Zoot Sims played soprano saxophone exclusively on a date, he sounds comfortable enough with it to be included in that elite category. Originally recorded in 1976, Soprano Sax highlights two Sims originals alongside standards "Moonlight in Vermont," "Willow Weep for Me," and "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams." Pianist Ray Bryant, bassist George Mraz, and drummer Grady Tate make up the complementary rhythm section behind Sims, who unfortunately never made another all soprano date.

All Music Guide

========= from the cover ==========

A curious beast is the soprano, undeniably in the saxophone family, but hardly of it. In the far-off days before Coleman Hawkins rescued the saxophone from its exile as a vaudeville prop, the musical precision-toolmakers of Elkhart, Indiana used to fashion the soprano in the same shape as all the other saxophones, with a bell whose curvature was an exact facsimile of what you could find on any alto or tenor. The effect was peculiar, of a cross between a meerschaum pipe and a fireman's helmet for a dwarf with a small head. In his days in London just after the Great War, Sidney Bechet played one of these curved curios. Or rather, he played several, including the one on which I first learned the saxophone keyboard, and which is now a family heirloom residing on a bed of purple velvet. Later, when the miracle-workers of Elkhart realized that the placement of the keys on a curved surface increased the chances of error, and that a mistake of as little as one millimeter could make an E Minor symphony, they scrapped the fireman's helmet design in favor of the kind which Zoot blows in this album, a straight pipe which at a distance might easily be taken by a short-sighted critic for a metal clarinet.

And so, having begun life as an instrument whose aspect promised the sound of a saxophone, the soprano reverted to a design which promised the sound of a clarinet-and persisted in sounding like neither. Its shrill, piping tone is nothing like the reedy timbre of the clarinet, and yet is not quite like a saxophone; in my adolescence I experienced a constant desire to blow it as though it were a trumpet, although 1 am not sure if this was due to its brassy personality, or to the swaggering dominance of Bechet in all those New Orleans ensembles he so delightfully ruined, in which by sheer brilliance of style he usurped the role of leader. That is why those recordings, where he sits alongside trumpeters like Sidney de Paris, Muggsy Spanier, even Rex Stewart, are high comedies of the jazz art.

Now a man approaches the soprano from one of two directions; either he is a clarinetist beguiled by its power, or he is a saxophonist intrigued by the challenge of working in miniature. Bechet was a clarinetist, and therein lies the clue to his solution of the soprano enigma. The clarinet offers a musician a range of four and a half octaves, the soprano a mere two and a half, which means that the clarinetist coming to the soprano will instantly be aware of the constriction, and naturally react by utilizing to its very limits what range the soprano does offer. And it so happens that in order to make the soprano sound effective, the player must utilize its entire range, often in the compass of a single bar. The tenor or alto player who comes to the soprano after years of pussyfooting around with grace notes in the central reaches of the instrument's range, if he does the same on the soprano, will convey the unfortunate impression that he is constantly circling around the same few notes. That is why Bechet's style, with soaring arpeggios and its great swooping expositions of the chord of the major seventh over two octaves, so beautifully suits the instrument.

But then Bechet was a genius, and one would have to be another in order to approach his felicities. As a matter of fact, another one turned up, this time a saxophonist who tempered Bechet's fierce primitivism with the sophistications of later age, and who managed somehow to incorporate into the soprano all the sumptuous glissandi effects of his own alto style. His name was Johnny Hodges, and it is one of the great tragedies of jazz that having achieved such sublime soprano heights as "I Got It Bad" and "Jeep's Blues," Hodges should then have packed the soprano away in its case forever. Since then several players have tried their hand, especially in the ultra-modern field, always unsuccessfully, and always because they ignored what you might call Bechet's Law, which is to stretch your phrases to their utmost. The only other considerable soprano players have been Tab Smith, who exploited the Bechet aspect of Hodges's style, and more recently Bob Wilbur, more closely modeled on Hodges the alto player.

I must now say that to someone like myself, in whose heart there is a special place for the soprano as the instrument on which he first explored the emotional possibilities of the music, the playing of Zoot Sims comes as an unqualified delight. That he should have succumbed to the blandishments of the instrument at all at this mature stage of his career is a bit of a miracle, and then, when you hear him explaining to the cultured ear the implications of the changes in "Wrap Your Troubles," you start to pay him the ultimate tribute of wondering if Bechet ever recorded the song. It is also revealing that when Ray Bryant takes his solo, his first bridge is an improvisation on the harmonies just as Zoot at the same juncture is improvising on its melody. In fact Bryant's first chorus is a manual on the art of reading the harmonies of the mid-1930s, and throughout this album he achieves the difficult task of providing the ideal accompaniment and yet in his own solos sounding subtly different as, for instance, in the second bar of "Ghost of a Chance" where he flirts with the whole-tone scale. A further delightful surprise comes with the inclusion of "Someday Sweetheart," an almost totally forgotten jazz favorite which I don't remember being played by any apart from Dixieland diehards for at least twenty years. (Who now remembers the brothers John and Benjamin Spikes, who wrote the song in 1919, long before any of the musicians on this album were born?) There is a superlative bass solo from George Mraz on this old warhorse and towards the end, when Grady Tate's drums fuse with the other three voices to create a climax, the quartet reaches the high point of the album. Bechet would have been charmed to pieces by Zoot's playing throughout the album. Of course none of this is very new. Zoot has always been the saxophonist's saxophonist, a player in whose style there is no bogus affectation, no extraneous fripperies. I have been rendered buoyant in spirit by listening to him on a thousand occasions. But that was as a tenor player. That he should now tackle that rogue elephant among saxophones, the soprano, is really more than I could have hoped for.

-Benny Green (original album notes)

  Соисполнители :

George Aaraz (Bass)
George Mraz (Bass)
Grady Tate (Drums)
Ray Bryant (Piano)

№ п/п

Наименование трека



   1 Someday, Sweetheart         0:06:10 Spikes / Spikes
   2 Moonlight In Vermont          0:04:47 Blackburn / Blackburn / Suessdorf
   3 Wrap Your Toubles In Dreams         0:05:05 And Dream... - Barris / Koehler / Moll
   4 Blues For Louise         0:08:04 Sims
   5 Willow Weep For Me          0:06:40 Ronell
   6 Wrap Up         0:03:48 Sims
   7 I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With You          0:07:07 Crosby / Washington / Young
   8 Baubles, Bangles And Beads          0:04:46 Borodin / Forrest / Wright


 T   'щелкнуть' - переход к тексту композиции.

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