Thursday, April 9, 2009

CD of the Day - "Harvey Wainapel: The Hang"

CD of the Day
Harvey Wainapel: "The Hang" (JazzMission) 2003

Although I've been fortunate to have been exposed to some excellent albums by Harvey Wainapel (pronnounced "wine apple"), I must confess that "The Hang", recorded in 1998 in NY and released in 2003, remains my personal favorite of all his CDs.
Produced by Ray Lucas, engineered by Michael Marciano & Cookie Marenco, "The Hang" is an impeccable 5-star project featuring Wainapel's dexterity in several reed instruments (clarinet, soprano, alto & tenor saxophones). He is surrounded by a top-class team, including Kenny Barron (acoustic piano), Larry Grenadier (bass), Kenny Wollesen (drums) & Phil Grenadier (trumpet).
The album sounds perfect from the first bars of the opening tune (a classy, sophisticated & seductive take of "Beautiful Love", showcasing Wainapel's warm tenor sax tone a la Joe Henderson) to the closing theme, Carlos Oliveira's "Choro da Gafieira", done as a clarinet/piano duet that escapes from the "sound of museum" often achieved by jazz musicians when trying to play Brazilian choro style.
Two other delightful tunes confirm Wainapel's affinity for Brazilian music: the samba jazz "Bueno y Perfecta" and the subtle bossa "La Lausanneoise" (The Lady from Lausanne), with trumpeter Phil Grenadier revealing the influence of Claudio Roditi. Both were written by the leader, who also signed two striking originals: "The Buzzard" and "Hadd Apple Beach" (dedicated to drummer Jamey Haddad). Btw, the CD is dedicated to the memories of Duke Dubois and Gil Evans' favorite trumpet player, Johnny Coles.
Inspired versions of Jimmy Heath's "CTA" (with Wainapel on soprano sax) and Wayne Shorter's "Pinocchio" ("an excellent pianist named Bert Seager composed the 16-bar interlude between choruses", notes HW) complete the program.

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