Saxophonist’s 3rd album brings the jazz organ group into the present with original compositions, fresh ideas, and notable New York musicians.
More details from Jazz Promo Services (www.jazzpromoservices.com):
CD Release Show
Thurs., April 28th 8 pm
149 W 46th St,
New York, NY 10036
live streamed @
Dave Anderson-tenor & soprano saxes
(New York, NY) Dave Anderson’s Blue Innuendo, the new CD and downloadable album from jazz saxophonist and composer Anderson, is scheduled for commercial release April 1, 2016. Featuring a new group, also named “Blue Innuendo” – with top New York jazz musicians Pat Bianchi on organ, Tom Guarna on guitar, and Matt Wilson on drums – performing ten originals songs, nine composed by the bandleader, the new release will be Anderson’s first New York album as a bandleader. Recorded at Brooklyn’s Systems Two recording studio in December 2014, Blue Innuendo will release on LABEL1, a new imprint for music projects by Anderson. Special free extras will release with the album, including PDF sheet music for each of his nine album originals published with a Creative Commons license, and a play-a-long track for the song “The Phantom” minus saxophone, via daveandersonjazz.com. The band, Dave Anderson’s Blue Innuendo, will celebrate the new release with a special concert April 28 8:00 PM at Michiko Studios’ Main Stage (affiliated with woodwind retailer Roberto’s Winds) in its Times Square location at 149 W 46th Street.
Dave Anderson began playing the saxophone at age eleven as an alto saxophonist in the school band in his hometown of Cloquet, Minnesota. Initially inspired by listening to the jazz recordings of his older brother, Anderson sought out educational experiences for playing music, and began writing original compositions while still in high school. Upon graduating from the University of Minnesota, he received a full fellowship to perform at the Aspen Music Festival in a student ensemble including future jazz notables Clarence Penn, Scott Whitfield and Ryan Kisor. Anderson spent ten years in and around the New York City music scene, including two years working in the music industry under legendary producer Creed Taylor, before moving temporarily to Seattle in 2005.
While in Seattle, Anderson released his 2010 debut CD, Dave Anderson Quartet – Clarity (Pony Boy Records), featuring his working quartet (sax-piano-bass-drums) on a set of ten modern songs including eight originals. Clarity enjoyed two months on the Jazzweek national jazz radio chart (peaking in the top 25) and received enthusiastic reviews worldwide. All About Jazz pronounced Clarity “a clear and convincing modern jazz masterpiece of a debut… a recording of exceptionally creative charts and marvelous musicianship.” Jazz Times designated the album “A master class in giving eight originals… complete make-overs harmonically, rhythmically and melodically.” Midwest Recordcomplimented the saxophonist’s band leadership, saying that Anderson “knows how to lead, how to lay out and how to write catchy melodies with some meat on the bone."
A 2011 follow-up CD in limited release, Dave Anderson’s Trio Real (Pony Boy Records), featured seven more originals plus songs by Coldplay and Dave Holland, putting the saxophonist in a pared-down group of sax-bass-drums, exploring the relationship of jazz & funk, with the leader playing all four primary members of the saxophone family: soprano, alto, tenor and baritone.
By the time Anderson returned to New York in September 2011, in his musical career he had performed or recorded with musicians including Clark Terry, Jim McNeely, Matt Wilson, Craig Taborn, Mel Torme, Jay Thomas, John Hansen and Thomas Marriott, and earned accolades from artists such as bassists Ray Brown and Rufus Reid. Anderson had recorded 15 original compositions and developed his own distinctive instrumental/compositional voice – one that is harmonically complex, melodically intricate and rhythmically exciting, yet accessible and appealing to lay listeners. His next recording project would apply this sensibility to one of jazz’s classic formats: the jazz organ group of sax, organ, guitar and drums. Anderson had written a collection of original compositions he thought would be perfect for an organ group.
Anderson chose the Blue Innuendo band members carefully from around the New York jazz scene. He had performed with organist Pat Bianchi, a current sideman of both Pat Martino and Lou Donaldson, on a gig with Mike DiRubbo and Tim Lancaster at the since-closed Somethin’ Jazz Club. He had played with uber-prominent drummer Matt Wilson on an East Village jazz gig, and had caught the incendiary guitar lines of Tom Guarna at the 55 Bar. Before joining forces for Blue Innuendo, all three rhythm section members had lent their talents to Grammy-nominated projects and were established bandleaders with multiple albums under their own names.
Blue Innuendo starts with “Urban Dilemma,” a swinging organ groove layered with intertwined soprano sax and guitar lines. The band plays the melody with attitude before launching into a rousing soprano solo where the bandleader and drummer Matt Wilson play off one another’s rhythms. Pat Bianchi’s organ stokes the fire with a solo before Tom Guarna’s guitar springs forward, building to a climax before detouring back to a final statement of the angular melody.
“22 Rooms” is a plaintive, catchy song contributed by former Anderson Trio Real band-mate Devin Lowe. Wilson spins a fresh groove, setting up a tenor solo bearing hints of Eddie Harris and Bennie Maupin. A guitar solo rebuilds the groove from scratch against displaced rhythms by Bianchi’s organ bass and an escalating rhythmic dialog between Guarna and Wilson, building to intensity rarely heard in a recording studio. After some dexterous drum fills by Wilson, the song ends on a curious chord, as time breaks down with Bianchi floating on a sine wave and Wilson playfully screeching a cymbal.
A tenor-guitar unison melody, “12-step Blues” builds to a percolating and ultimately blazing organ solo. The chemistry between Bianchi and Wilson is clear. The melody re-enters and ends with a soaring sax note, an improvised organ and drum response and a satisfied Matt Wilson cackle heard through the studio microphones. The sound is of a band having fun.
The group slows things down on “Parallel Present,” as a warm tenor saxophone punctuates against a tasty Latin beat. Here Bianchi’s organ turns romantic, beginning a solo with a borrowed phrase and making a deeply felt and tasteful statement.
“Geneology” is a play on the standard “I Got Rhythm,” the recognizable form truncated by the composer cleverly clipping phrases. Anderson’s soprano steps forward with assertive melodic statements while the rhythm section simmers and grooves. The walking bass lines are much clearer here than on many organ recordings – you don’t just feel it, you can hear it. Guarna blows through the out-head to a “stinger” ending.
If some of Blue Innuendo’s most spirited soloing is in the first half of the album, some of its most rewarding compositions can be found in the latter half. “Stuck” is a change of pace with an ethereal mood and dreamier organ sound – a reminder that the Hammond B3 is actually an analog synthesizer. After an emotional soprano statement, Guarna captures the mood of the bandleader’s tune with a rich guitar sound, leaving space along the way. Behind the outgoing melody Wilson becomes more present, accenting the final throbbing note with a cymbal roll.
Titled in honor of tenor saxophone great Joe Henderson, “The Phantom” features an oblique ostinato line and a counter-melody written for guitar. The melody is reminiscent of Joe Henderson’s idiosyncratic, off-center playing, but as a soloist Anderson doesn’t try to ape the lines of the old master. Here Wilson also show a debt of his own, to the drum great Elvin Jones.
Written as a feature for Matt Wilson, “Two Tone Tune” starts with only drums. Organ, guitar and tenor join to support the buoyantly soloing master drummer, who builds to a full climax while setting up for the tenor. Anderson punches out melodies while Wilson interjects his “two tones” occasionally. This song has a free and open sound like the groups of Paul Motian or John Abercrombie.
Unlike some of the modern originals on the album, the title track “Blue Innuendo” is a throwback, evocative of smoky rooms and perhaps even the Chitlin’ Circuit where organ groups once toured to reach African American audiences. The melody is stated first by organ and then by a wistful tenor. After soulful solos, a composed shout chorus leaves Anderson and Guarna playing a alternative and more boppish line over the “Blue Innuendo” form. A coda based on the song’s rhythmic “hook” gives each soloist brief postscript blowing in this exceedingly well-crafted tune.
“Redeye,” a blues, begins as an organ feature, with wide melody intervals evoking the great organist Larry Young. The rhythm section breaks up the groove, giving the soloists more freedom to roam. Bianchi is stirred to a highly adventurous organ statement. Guarna plays cool and zigs where Bianchi had zagged. Anderson then zags, finding extra freedom and really stretching out. The combination of soprano saxophone with a jazz organ group – especially a full-throated soprano sound like the leader’s, is quite novel in recorded jazz, and this album opens and closes with that sound. A soprano solo climax returns directly to the melody with organ again taking the lead before a clever coda closes the record.
Throughout Blue Innuendo, Dave Anderson displays a clear, rich sound on both the tenor and sopranos saxophones, with expressive, melodic improvisations. Master accompanist Pat Bianchi shows the great range of his playing while revealing new facets of his musicianship. Guitarist Tom Guarna’s searing guitar work indicates greater recognition must certainly await him. And Matt Wilson gels and propels the elements, showing why he’s such an in-demand drummer.
Dave Anderson’s Blue Innuendo makes a statement that jazz organ groups, in particular this sax-organ-guitar-drums format, still have exciting territory to roam, that groove and compositional prowess are not mutually exclusive. The energy and invention of this group is stunning, bringing the jazz organ group into the present, and certainly making listeners want to catch the energy of this band live. Anderson’s first New York City album as a leader builds on his body of work, now with two dozen incisive recorded original compositions, and an exciting new group to play jazz’s capital of the world and beyond.
Anderson’s nine originals on Blue Innuendo will be published with a Creative Commons “Attribution-NonCommercial” license, allowing students, fans and musicians to share, copy, redistribute and adapt the written compositions, when done with credit and for non-commercial purposes.
Sax In The City
Read The Feature Story
In The Pine Journal
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Dave Anderson’s notes about the Blue Innuendo songs:
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