|Very influential album from the 80's|
|Redman was part of the Young Lions fad....|
I suppose the "Young Lions" phenomenon, like many of the sub-genres of jazz, could be considered a "fad"; nevertheless, some of my favorite music comes from that period. In addition to Kenny Kirkland's work on "Black Codes", albums like Branford Marsalis' "Crazy People Music", or "Random Abstract"(also by Branford), or Out Of The Blue(known as OTB and featuring Mike Mossman, Kenny Garrett, Ralph Bowen, and Ralph Peterson)"Live At Mt. Fuji", or Terence Blanchard/Donald Harrison's "New York Second Line", or Kenny Garrett's "Introducing Kenny Garrett"(on the Criss Cross Label), or "Black Hope"(Another Kenny Garrett album), were all very important for me.
|I used to have this on cassette. Anybody have a copy?|
I'm guessing that her influences include alto saxophonists like Kenny Garrett, Antonio Hart, and Steve Wilson. She has a great deal of technique, swing, and musicality for a youngster.
|Mark Whitfield, Jr.|
"Ravine" is a moody rubato ballad, where Nilswanger and Barrett have some beautiful contrapuntal phrasing. "Played Twice" is a not often played Theolonious Monk tune. On the breaks within the melody, drummer Whitfield really channels his mentor Ralph Peterson on this one! Ohbayashi swings very hard on his solo, and Nilswanger slithers around on her soprano with a short but well crafted solo.
This unit sounds as if they play together often, not just for the purposes of this recording. Nilswanger confidently leads her crew, and has a full, vibrant tone and mature phrasing. I think Nilswanger has a bright future as an saxophonist and a composer.
Nilswanger and her young crew don't have their own unique sound yet-HOWEVER, I am actually glad that they sound like SOMEBODY! And they sound like they check out HIP somebodies, which is better than checking out NOBODY! Students have to emulate in order to learn the craft. These guys and gal are doing it. But I'm thinking, "What will they sound like when they are 40 years old?"Time shall indeed tell.
Don't get me wrong; these young players have tons of potential. If Nilswanger and company had been around in the 80's and 90's, they probably would have been signed. But many of the cats who were "signed" ended up fizzling out, probably because they were "signed" too young. Nilswanger self produced these CDs(the second one was funded by a Kickstarter campaign), and the climate is so different now for young players; with a handful of exceptions, the opportunities for gigs and financial rewards are much harder to come by. I think in some ways it's actually better that young players have to pay more dues; this will more easily prevent the "flash in the pan" syndrome.
All that being said, bravo and best of luck to Hailey Nilswanger and her band! I look forward to the next one.
I leave you with an excerpt from an interview I did with Steve Wilson in 2010, related to the subject of longevity. I think it helps illustrate my point:
SW: I think it's possible. It's very possible. We are in the midst of a cultural shift, some say a cultural war.The students will have to figure that out. It is a lifetime study. I tell students: " This is a marathon, not a sprint.!" And a lot of it is who is left standing when you are 70 or 80, like a Jon Hendricks. You could become a star at 25, but you might not be a star at 30. So you need to be prepared when you aren't a star. And what's going to carry you the rest of the way. There is a real ebb and flow in terms of what we perceive as success. But REAL success is when you have the tools and resolve to keep practicing your craft when nobody's looking. But I do think it's possible. It will be hard for some to shake the cultural tendency to say," If I don't make it by the time I'm 25, then I don't want to do this." But some will figure it out, and I do think we will be in good shape musically.