Canadian Grant Stewart has long been a part of the New York jazz scene, and his big-toned tenor is well suited to the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Joined by pianist Tardo Hammer (frequently complimented by producer/label owner Marc Edelman as one of the city's best-kept secrets), bassist Paul Gill, and drummer Joe Farnsworth, Stewart explores both hits and less frequently explored songs from the vast repertoire of Ellington and Strayhorn, beginning with a brisk, effusive arrangement of "Raincheck," which incorporates the changes utilized by Sonny Rollins in his 1953 recording. Stewart's setting of "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart" has a boppish tinge, as does the uptempo setting of "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)," in which the rhythm section fuels the fire of the leader. His hip arrangement of the Latin cooker "Angelica," originally recorded by Ellington as "The Purple Gazelle," swings like mad. The tenor saxophonist also masters ballads such as the overlooked "Tonight I Shall Sleep (With a Smile on My Face)" and the dreamy "The Star-Crossed Lovers," the latter long a feature for Ellington's alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges. This is easily one of Grant Stewart's best recordings.
Performance CreditsGrant Stewart Primary Artist,Tenor Saxophone
Tardo Hammer Piano
Joe Farnsworth Drums
Technical CreditsIrving Mills Composer
Bobby Troup Composer
Duke Ellington Composer
Joe Marciano Engineer
Billy Strayhorn Composer
Marc Edelman Producer,Audio Production
Judy Lamirand Graphic Design
G. Simon Composer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It was really great listning to Grant Stewart play tunes from the Ellington/Strayhorn song books. He played these standards with a lot of imagination gave them a modern twist. The entire group sounded cohesive and really swinging. Tardio Hammer,on piano, played some great solos. Paul Gill, on bass and the wonderfull Joe Farnesworth, on drums rounded out this great session. I would love to hear more from this group. I think that this is Grsnt's best effort to date.
Had purchased this CD after reading a Stereophile review. Stereophile had issued its highest rating for Sonic Qulaity for this CD. I have to agree that the sound quality is amazing. It's rewarding to hear old compositions played and recorded with modern technology. The musicians are extremely taleneted and the piano player is amazing.