Carol Sudhalter Quartet

Live At Saint Peter’s Church
(Alfa Projects)

Sometimes it’s about the simple pleasures, and this straightahead set by veteran saxophonist and flutist Carol Sudhalter has some goods to offer in that department. Recorded live at Saint Peter’s Church in New York, the music here is largely light and unobtrusive, and certainly never challenging or arty. Still, there’s a depth of feeling in Sudhalter’s playing that rewards attention, even in the set’s most conventional moments. Her airy baritone playing can be a touch ragged here and there, leaving something to be desired when she tackles, say, a Sonny Rollins tune like “Valse Hot.” Her turns at the flute, though, are consistently rewarding, as she coaxes a delicate melancholy from compositions like Bill Evans’ “Time Remembered.”

There are, however, shortcomings in regard to recording quality, which sadly get in the way of a fuller appreciation of the album’s strengths. Somewhere along the line, treble and hi-mids get overemphasized in the mix, making for a harsh, compressed sound on the hi-hats and in the saxophone’s higher register. That’s a distracting shame, since this set, while not innovative, is otherwise perfectly enjoyable.

On Sale Now
May 2024
Stefon Harris
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