By Ed Enright | Published September 2018
Call it “tenor gladness”: Two bebop devotees with serious street-cred join forces on a joyous romp through 10 straightahead tunes tailor-made for tag-team-style improvisation.
Chicago-based tenor saxophonist Greg Fishman and Los Angeles-based tenor saxophonist Doug Webb wrote all of the material for So You Say, an old-school blowing session recorded with a West Coast rhythm section of pianist Mitch Forman, bassist Kevin Axt and drummer Dan Schnelle. Their enthusiasm for the material is palpable as they swagger and zip their way through neatly harmonized, angular heads, only to leap off the page as they embark on extended solos steeped in the bebop vernacular.
These guys have thousands of licks at their disposal, and they know how to use them. Each saxophonist displays an uncanny knack for navigating even the most challenging harmonic turns and twists, as well as the wisdom to know when to burn, when to swing and when to play it cool. Forman is a wellspring of creativity who’s brilliant at spelling out the many nuances of sophisticated chord progressions, and his inspired, bop-informed soloing is on par with the two tenors. There’s no pretense or over-production to take away from the good vibes and simple pleasures on tap here. Not a moment on the album sounds planned: these guys are masters of jumping onboard and enjoying the ride, wherever it leads. Fishman will mark the release of So You Say with a free performance Sept. 11 at Chicago’s Jazz Showcase.