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Hopes and Dreams

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Album Review

Wayne Escoffery has been one of the most impressive tenor saxophonists of his generation, not only developing a personal sound but also demonstrating prowess as a compelling composer/arranger. With his Veneration quartet, which includes vibraphonist Joe Locke, bassist Hans Glawisching, and drummer Lewis Nash (with Jonathan Blake subbing on drums for three tracks), Escoffery opens with his infectious "Hopes and Dreams," with his passionate tenor backed by Locke, who plays both vibes and marimba and solos on the latter instrument. His lush solo in Charles Mingus' "Noon Night" (an excerpt from his magnum opus Epitaph) would have likely pleased its demanding composer. Trumpeter/flügelhornist Tom Harrell, with whom Escoffery has worked as a sideman, is added on three tracks. Harrell's hip "Liason" swings in a light groove, while John Coltrane's infrequently performed "Chronic Blues" is a lively workout for the band, which offers a haunting arrangement of the late Bill Barron's "Dedicated to Wanda," yet another song deserving of wider attention. The Brazilian composition "The Face I Love" was recorded live at Smoke during the making of Escoffery's earlier Savant CD Veneration, but was omitted because of time constraints; it provides a fitting conclusion to this outstanding release.


Born: 23 February 1975 in London, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s

"Young Lions" is a term that jazz journalists have been using to describe the long list of straight-ahead, acoustic-oriented jazz improvisers who were born in the '60s, '70s, and '80s, and London native Wayne Escoffery is among the many Young Lions who started building his catalog in the early 2000s. Escoffery, who plays post-bop and hard bop, is a tenor saxophonist with a big, full tone; his influences on the tenor have included, among others, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson,...
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Hopes and Dreams, Wayne Escoffery
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