By Frank Alkyer | Published May 2021
Here we have the young and amazingly talented tenor saxophonist Jack Brandfield taking us on a swinging trio journey with Randy Napoleon on guitar and Rodney Whitaker on bass. As a group, the three are a wonder of rhythm, time and musicality. Each solo aches of a melodic time gone by, when songs could be instrumental, hip and danceable all at the same time. For his part, Brandfield has a juicy, smooth tone on tenor. He knows how to coax just the right amount of purr from the horn, taking an old-school approach — one that’s reminiscent of his heroes Zoot Sims or Stan Getz — dressed up for the modern era. The lack of a drummer gives the group plenty of room to play with time and space, all the while keeping the proceedings right in the pocket. They roll through a set of a dozen classics that just leave you with a smile and an “Ah!” Especially tasty are the opening Jerome Kern chestnut “Nobody Else But Me,” a jumping take on “Lover Come Back To Me” and “On A Slow Boat To China.” In a very cool move, Brandfield and Whitaker glide as a duo through “Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me” in late-night, last-call mode. Napoleon and Brandfield do likewise on a tug-at-the-heart rendition of “Over The Rainbow.” All that said, perhaps the most impressive aspect of Brandfield’s artistry is this: He’s still in school, pursuing a graduate degree at the Frost School of Music at University of Miami. We’ll be seeing him in all the old familiar places, for sure.