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Standard Issue

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Album Review

A collection of live recordings from 1997, Standard Issue finds alto saxman Dick Oatts (who plays the tenor as a second instrument) showing his appreciation of Charlie Parker and his disciples (Sonny Stitt, Jackie McLean, among others) as well as Lee Konitz and early Art Pepper. Put all those influences together and you have a saxophonist with an appealing, recognizable tone. Except for Oatts' own "Nimble Jack," this Danish release is a conventional bop-oriented set of standards — "All the Things You Are," "You and the Night and the Music," and "Memories of You" have been done to death over the years, and some people would argue that there should be a moratorium on them. But while the former Red Rodney sideman could have been more adventurous in his choice of material, this is still an enjoyable, if predictable, CD. Oatts (who is joined by pianist David Berkman, bassist Dave Santoro, and drummer James Oblon) has a likable sense of swing, and again, his tone is something to admire. Standard Issue may not be the ideal or most interesting document of Oatts' playing, but all things considered, it paints a favorable picture of the alto man.

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