Gary Smulyan – “Thedia”

Gary Smulyan, “Thedia,” from Royalty at Le Duc (Sunnyside)

Both boisterous and tender, Gary Smulyan’s first live album as leader captures the baritone sax master in Paris backed by a splendid international rhythm section (pianist Olivier Hutman, bassist Michel Rosciglione and drummer Bernd Reiter). The quartet covers seven standards, including “Cindy’s Tune” by Smulyan’s musical hero, Pepper Adams. This is a blowing session of the highest order: inspired hard bop that burns at the highest temperature and at the lowest glow. —Sascha Feinstein

On “Thedia,” a tune originally written by trumpeter Thad Jones, Smulyan unwinds a long, brilliantly conceived solo that accentuates his full-bodied tone and fluid phrasing. Fresh ideas continue to spill out of Smulyan’s horn, and as the rhythm section brings the pressure to a head, Smulyan keeps his cool, gliding on top of the chord changes as if riding a wave.

Join Our Newsletter
Join thousands of other jazz enthusiasts and get new music, artists, album, events and more delivered to your inbox.

The Authoritative Voice in Jazz