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Standards Plus

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Album Review

After three albums each for the Dutch Criss Cross label and the Italian Red label, this is Maryland born alto player Jim Snidero's first recording for a domestic label. It is also his first album where standards predominate, and where he didn't compose any of the tunes. When asked what prompted him to take this route, he said "There was no real reason. It was simply something I had never done and wanted to do."

Snidero's boppish style comes through the strongest on "You and the Night and the Music" and "Without a Song." But he shows that he can "play pretty" on tunes like "Long Ago and Far Away." Pretty, but not sugary. Even his softer sounds reveal the Cannonball Adderley influence, coupled with the John Coltrane passion. The standards not only include pages from the Great American Songbook, but jazz standards like Cedar Walton's "Twilight Waltz" and Benny Golson's bop masterpiece "Along Came Betty." Snidero's musical confreres on this outing are top-notch. Mike LeDonne, Dennis Irwin, and Kenny Washington all have well established credentials as among the very best in the jazz world. LeDonne's piano makes a very important contribution to the success of the album. Listen to him on "Along Came Betty" and Bob Haggard's poignant "What's New." There's excellent soloing by all throughout, but more important, the ensemble playing is outstanding. A characteristic which sets Snidero apart from contemporary sax players is his ability to stay true to his bop heritage, but not let it dominate everything he plays. When he puts the horn in his mouth, what comes out the other end is not the same every time, there's real variety. Snidero is an under-recognized player at the height of his creative energies. This album should go a long way in giving him the recognition he has earned and deserves.

Biography

Born: 1958 in Redwood City, CA

Genre: Jazz

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

A fine post-bop improviser and alto saxman, Jim Snidero is a bit underrated but is well-appreciated by his fellow musicians. He attended the University of North Texas and moved to New York in 1981. Snidero toured and recorded with Jack McDuff, he's been a member of the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra since the mid-'80s, has worked with the backup bands of Frank Sinatra and Eddie Palmieri, and has spent time playing with the Frank Wess Sextet, the Mel Lewis Orchestra, and the Mingus Big Band. As a...
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Standards Plus, Jim Snidero
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