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Standard Issue, Vol. 2

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Album Review

During his long career, saxophonist Dick Oatts has been a capable sideman on many important dates. On this follow-up to his earlier Steeplechase CD, he explores familiar standards in live jams recorded between 1997 and 1999; with one exception, all of these tracks are extended blowing sessions. Starting off on alto sax, accompanied by bassist Dave Santoro and drummer James Oblon, Oatts' tone is soft during his initial choruses in "Stella By Starlight" before cutting loose with a driving solo; his reworking of the venerable chestnut "On Green Dolphin Street" is a treat. Pianist Harold Danko joins the trio for the last three songs, and Oatts switches to tenor sax for "Love Thy Neighbor," a great standard that had fallen somewhat out of favor among jazz musicians in the final decades of the 20th century. Oatts is every bit as accomplished on the larger instrument, with a fat, confident tone, while Danko's chops are also never in question. Following a rather brief but wild take of "Moonlight in Vermont" with Oatts back on alto, the CD wraps with a thorough workout of "You Stepped out of a Dream."

Standard Issue, Vol. 2, Dick Oatts
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