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Scotch and Milk

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Album Review

When Cecil Payne turned 70 in 1992, the baritone saxophonist was showing no signs of slowing down. Payne was 73 when he recorded Scotch and Milk, a fine hard bop date employing trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, tenor saxmen Lin Halliday and Eric Alexander, pianist Harold Mabern, bassist John Ore, and drummer Joe Farnsworth. Payne's chops are in top shape on this 1996 date, and the veteran saxman plays with a lot of passion on such exuberant originals as "Wilhemenia" (a Sonny Rollins-type jazz/calypso number), "Que Pasaning," and "Cit Sac" (which finds Payne switching to the flute). The only tune on the CD that Payne didn't write is the standard "If I Should Lose You," which serves as a nice example of his soulful ballad playing. Nothing groundbreaking takes places on Scotch and Milk; most of the material could have been recorded for Blue Note in the 1950s or 1960s instead of 1996. Scotch and Milk is a perfect example of a veteran improviser excelling by sticking with what he does best.


Born: 14 December 1922 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Acclaimed by peers and critics among the finest baritone saxophonists of the bebop era, Cecil Payne remains best remembered for his three-year stint with Dizzy Gillespie's seminal postwar big band. Born in Brooklyn, NY, on December 14, 1922, Payne began playing saxophone at age 13, gravitating to the instrument after hearing Lester Young's work on Count Basie's "Honeysuckle Rose." Young's supple, lilting tone remained a profound influence throughout Payne's career. After learning to play under the...
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Scotch and Milk, Cecil Payne
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