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Things Ain't What They Used To Be

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Album Review

Baritone saxophonist Nick Brignola, who was influenced by Pepper Adams, had a flurry of activity late in his career, recording for several labels, particularly Reservoir. This disc was recorded during a live set in 1992 at Sweet Basil, featuring the leader with pianist Mike Holober, bassist Rich Syracuse and drummer Dick Berk. The musicians were clearly relaxed and having a ball, stretching out playing favorites like the loping "Things Ain't What They Used to Be," a brisk samba treatment of the normally languid ballad "You Go to My Head" and an extended workout of Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way." But Brignola throws his audience a curve by switching to alto sax, clarinet and even soprano sax for individual features. It is hard to believe that the saxophonist showed no interest in the release of these performances, which were taped during the same sessions as Live at Sweet Basil-First Set. But with Brignola's death from cancer in early 2002, just as he was starting to gain recognition, label owner Mark Feldman made sure that this important music wasn't left to linger in the record vault and duly issued it the following year.


Born: 17 July 1936 in Troy, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Nick Brignola's 45-year career brought him into contact with many of the most accomplished mainstream improvisers of his generation. Primarily identified with the baritone saxophone, he also performed and recorded using alto and soprano as well as flute and clarinet. Never exactly famous in the U.S. yet greatly appreciated by jazz lovers at home and by the international jazz community at large (especially during his final decade of activity), Brignola cut more than 20 albums as a leader and worked...
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Things Ain't What They Used To Be, Nick Brignola
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