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Jon Gordon

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Album Review

It is no exaggeration to say that saxophonist Jon Gordon and pianist Bill Charlap are two of the finest musicians of their generation; both have a strong link to Phil Woods — Gordon studied with the alto sax master and has recorded with him, while Charlap began serving as Woods' regular pianist. The final connection is that Woods produced the sessions that resulted in this outstanding collection of duets. The two musicians have played together frequently since attending the same high school, and their familiarity with one another helps each of them in anticipating where the other is likely to go. Although Gordon is best known for his work on alto sax (he won the Thelonious Monk alto sax competition) he begins on soprano sax for a sterling interpretation of "Stardust." Gordon's swaggering alto sax solo on "Young at Heart" is supported by Charlap's imaginative supporting lines. The studio sessions also include strong interpretations of standards like "These Foolish Things," "I Fall in Love Too Easily," and "Over the Rainbow." In addition to a strident take of Thelonious Monk's "Bye Ya," the duo's interpretation of works by Jack Montrose ("For Sue," with Gordon on soprano) and Kenny Werner ("Compensation," with Gordon playing alto) should have jazz fans searching out earlier recordings by their respective composers. If that's not enough, the two men collaborated on two originals: the intricate "Contrasts" (with soprano sax) and the fragile miniature ballad "Epilogue," which concludes the CD. Outstanding music from two gentlemen who deserve a great deal more recognition than either has received from the jazz media.


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

This exceptional reed artist performs and records modern jazz deeply steeped in tradition in a discography of projects as both a sideman and leader dating back to the early '90s. Even the names of the labels he records for give an indication of what to expect, The Jon Gordon Quartet emerging on Chiaroscuro in 1992, a Thelonious Monk tribute coming out two years later on Criss Cross, and the Double...
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Contrasts, Jon Gordon
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