album review – Jeff Lederer

Jeff Lederer
Sunwatcher
(www.jazzheads.com)

For his solo debut, saxophonist/clarinetist Jeff Lederer has chosen a top-notch group of musicians: Jamie Saft (keyboards), Matt Wilson (drums), and Buster Williams (bass). Wilson has included Lederer in his own bands, and proves simpatico in this role reversal. Saft’s work ranges from rich gospel organ undertones to seemingly channeling McCoy Tyner on piano. Veteran Williams both fits in and adds his own voice. Five originals, Duke Pearson’s classic “Cristo Redentor,” Paul Bley’s “Albert’s Love Theme,” and Lederer’s arrangement of the traditional “Break Bread Together” make for an album of sometimes challenging but always heartfelt jazz. Lederer pays tribute to free jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler directly in “Albert’s Sun,” and indirectly on other pieces, with piercing wails and cries. He takes a different approach on “Arshawsky,” a quirky tribute to clarinetist Artie Shaw. Lederer’s closing is a moving tribute to Alice Coltrane, “Turiyasangitananda,” marking a full spiritual cycle, and leaving the listener hoping for a followup from this intriguing player. — Martin Z. Kasdan, Jr.

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