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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.


Born: 1958 in Redwood City, CA

Genre: Jazz

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

Saxophonist Jim Snidero is an adroit jazz improviser, composer, and educator with a bent toward acoustic post-bop. An author of several books on jazz improvisation, Snidero is an in-demand clinician who has taught at the Jazz and Contemporary Music Program at the New School University, Indiana University, and Princeton. Born in Redwood City, California in 1958, Snidero actually grew up in Prince George's County, Maryland where he first began playing saxophone at age ten. However, it wasn't until...
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