You And The Night And The Music
(18th And Vine)
Sonny Fortune has long been one of the most powerful alto-saxophonists in jazz even though he never seems to rank high in the jazz polls. Year after year, Fortune plays solid music, improvises with passion, and stretches the boundaries of straightahead and modern mainstream jazz.
On You And The Night And The Music, the altoist is joined by pianist George Cables, bassist Chip Jackson, and drummer Steve Johns for seven standards and two originals. Some of the material is a little off beat, including an uptempo romp on “Sweet Georgia Brown” and a medium-tempo exploration of “Charade,” but there are no slow moments or throwaway tracks. Fortune, who switches to soprano on “Charade” and flute on “‘Round Midnight,” never runs out of ideas or steam. Although the rhythm section is perfect for this setting, Fortune is the one who consistently commands the listener’s attention.
Among the most intriguing performances are a modalized and slightly slower-than-usual version of the title cut, “Charade” (which is given one of its most rewarding treatments ever in jazz), a relaxed non-Latin version of “Bésame Mucho,” Fortune’s lyrical “For Duke And Cannon,” and an explosive rendition of “Be Bop.”
Actually, the altoist is at his best on the medium-tempo and slightly slower material, using space effectively and throwing in some surprising double-time runs. You And The Night And The Music is one of Sonny Fortune’s finest recordings of the past decade.
- Scott Yanow