Steve Slagle on Alto Sax and Flute leads a new recording with a great line-up of diverse players who inspire a wide range of music playing five new exciting originals for the first time, as well as two classics and one solo alto sax piece.
Alto Manhattan, is latino for the NYC neighborhood steve lives in-‘upper manhattan’or ‘the heights’ and the program here is: FAMILY—This composition for 2 saxes+2 drums is pure jazz, with Cuba and Africa in the make-up of what is a big family. Note Roman Diaz,from Cuba, and his great sound on Conga, as well as the whole group inter-play--all in the family! ALTO MANHATTAN, song #2 is so nice they play it twice! The first fiery take is with quartet and then later down the line Joe Lovano is added on tenor to create another harmony ( A.M.) Bill Stewarts contribution,on both takes, proves,as many know, he is one of a kind as a drummer.
I KNOW THAT YOU KNOW is a lyrical alto blues oriented song that allows everyone to ‘let their hair down’. Bassist Gerald Cannon gets all the way down here!
BODY+SOUL showcases Steve’s Alto alone, joining the canon of sax players who have attempted this classic ballad as a solo piece. Done in one take, Steve references Monk,Duke,’Bird and Ornette (twice!) within the structure of this classic song. INCEPTION came about after Slagle recently was asked to play with McCoy Tyners Quartet. This challenging McCoy composition eventually opens up into an extended minor blues. This is the first take of the date and notice the immediate empathy of all the players! I GUESS I’LL HANG MY TEARS OUT TO DRY, a beautiful ballad starting with the often forgotten verse, is given the romantic treatment here..Lawrence Fields piano mastery helps make this a shining version of a deep song.
Finally Alto Manhattan ends with two flute pieces which are also very central to the sound of the record. HOLIDAY, the most thru-composed piece of the date,Slagle first wrote with harmonica master Toots Thielman in mind and dedicates this first recording of the song in memory of maestro Toots. Joe Lovanos G mezzo soprano along with the sound of the flute really takes the listener on a musical vacation. And with that, we have VIVA LA FAMALIA to end the proceedings -- a jam for 2 drums,bass and the flute lead. A fresh,original first take played spontaneously at the end of this unique and outstanding recording. Yes,Viva la Famalia!!