By Hobart Taylor | Published May 2020
On The Ripple, two sages of the tenor saxophone, Jeff Rupert and George Garzone, demonstrate the nuances of voice. Working through standards and Rupert originals, the release aims to honor “the ripple effect” that saxophonist Lester Young had in ushering in a modern era of improvisation. But there’s also more than a passing nod to other greats who developed their individual approaches after Young. For “Stardust,” following a bravura call-and-response, the pair lingers slightly behind the beat as the rhythm section kicks in. They play it the way Hoagy Carmichael sang it, trading the theme in a relaxed and assured way; Rupert references John Coltrane’s take of the tune in the album’s liner notes. On “Without A Song,” Garzone’s first solo dances on the edge of out, hinting at the discordant but never venturing further. A take of “Detour Ahead” is golden and shows off pianist Richard Drexler’s masterful comping, bassist Jeremy Allen’s precise support and drummer Marty Morell’s light brushwork. A cover of Ben Kynard’s “Red Top” features the joyful collaborative mastery found in Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt duets. It doesn’t get much better than that.
The Ripple: Bahia (AKA Baia); GO-GO; Stardust; Without A Song; The Shadow Of Your Smile; Detour Ahead; The Red Door; Red Top; Hoboken; Beauty Becomes Her; Lester Left Town; Alone Together. (68:37)
Personnel: Jeff Rupert, George Garzone, tenor saxophone; Richard Drexler, piano; Jeremy Allen, bass; Marty Morell, drums.