LIVE: The Van Dyck Allstars Sax Summit @ the Van Dyck, 5/15/15

May 26th, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg
Adam Siegel, Keith Pray and Lee Russo

Adam Siegel, Keith Pray and Lee Russo

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu

During the introduction to his arrangement of Mark Turner’s “Myron’s World”, Adam Siegel shared about how happy was to be playing with people that had inspired him for so many years. I know how Siegel feels: When I first started writing about jazz in Greater Nippertown, the five young “all-stars” at the front of the Van Dyck’s stage – tenormen Brian Patneaude and Lee Russo, altoists Siegel and Keith Pray and baritone saxman Jeff Nania – were either just starting to make inroads on the scene or were nowhere to be seen at all. Being able to witness their respective creative accomplishments over the last 10 years has been like watching your kids grow into adulthood – and these were “the kids” when I started out. Now they’re the heavyweights, and they played like champions on this night.

Patneaude’s charts for “Dear John” were tight as Jeff “Siege” Siegel’s drums as the octet launched the first set with the hard-bopping Freddie Hubbard composition. Russo’s primary ax is alto sax, which might explain why he started so high on his opening solo, but he would find the tenor’s full range as the night went on; Nania was also away from his usual tool, but he played that bari like he’d been weaned on tapes of Gary Smulyan, offering lines with both power and shape; Of course, tenor sax is Patneaude’s home and hearth, and he had the tune right in his sights as he charged through the piece’s final solo. Dave Gleason’s comping piano chords rose and rose while bassist Otto Gardner ignored his lack of amplification and attacked the piece the only way he knows how – flat out.

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