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Thursday, December 20, 2018

CD Review: Dave O'Higgins Trio + Max Ionata - Tenors Of Our time.

Dave O'Higgins (tenor sax); Ross Stanley (organ); Luca Santaniello (drums) + Max Ionata (tenor sax).
(Review by Lance).

Tenor sax duos aren't new. Over the years, Dex and Wardell did battle, likewise Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt, Illinois and Flip with JATP, Lockjaw and Johnny Griffin. These were, ostensibly, no holds barred encounters with each one going for the jugular.

Over here, in the Jazz Couriers, Ronnie Scott and Tubbs also blew devastating tenor the difference being that this wasn't a championship bout but rather two musical associates working together to create rather than to conquer - drawing from, and inspiring, each other.

I suspect a similar relationship exists between O'Higgins and fellow tenor man Ionata. This is no, "I can player faster/higher/louder or honkier than thou" scenario but two guys blowing within the boundaries of taste without losing identity or any lack of swing - listen to their take on Sonny Stitt's The Eternal Triangle.

O'Higgins composed five and Ionata two of the originals that make up the bulk of the ten tracks. Both musicians are as adept as composers as they are as instrumentalists and the proof is here in the album.

Ross Stanley, comping and soloing, as ever the master of the B3, provides the perfect launchpad for both himself and the soloists.  I'm unsure which of the saxists is which despite their individual styles. One is smoother (O'Higgins?) the other tougher but both gell. 

O'Higgins met the excellent New York-based drummer Santaniello at the 2017 Rochester Jazz Festival. Santaniello, in turn, introduced him to Ionata and the rest, as they say, is history or maybe not. This is a band who, hopefully, won't be consigned to the archives but will continue to record and play live gigs.
Lance.

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