Saturday, October 11, 2008

SHIRLEY TAUGHT TIM TO SWING


It’s rare that I blog about a recording after only listening to it once. I’m careful never to rush to judgment. I want to offer a thorough critique, not just a knee-jerk reaction. Tim, your latest album One For Shirley-dedicated to your mentor the late organist Shirley Scott-grabbed my attention immediately. I purchased it yesterday at Street Corner Music in Beverly Hills, MI, and I played it this morning. I bobbed head, patted my feet, and snapped my fingers for 77.41 minutes straight, the length of this album.

Man, One for Shirley is a fabulous tribute album. If Scott were alive she would be proud. Not because you honored her. Mostly because of the groomed jazz musician you’ve become, which I’m sure Scott nurtured those years you played with her.

It’s nice to know there are still jazz musicians who’re sticklers about details, and who wouldn’t dare release an album until every inch of it is finely tuned. I knew you were a special when I first heard you at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, MI at the Blues, Roots, Hunks and Moans concert blowing in bassist Christian McBride’s band, which motivated me purchase A Cool Blue two (1995) and Gentle Warrior (1997) superb Criss Cross Jazz released in .

I liked your command of the tenor saxophone. I also liked your spiffy demeanor. That concert happened awhile back. When I listened to your new album it was evident that you’re still meticulous. I wondered what you were up to since you released Jazz Is (2002).

After listening to One for Shirley, I figured you’d spent the last six years crafting this album because every each of it is chiseled and polished. You assembled a strong supporting cast trumpeter Terell Stafford, organist Pat Bianchi, drummer Byron Landham and percussionist Daniel G. Sadownick. They filled every each of the space you carved out for them.

Bianchi was a good choice to play the organ. His aggressive and churchy nature is akin to how Scott once wailed away. Where did you find Bianchi? On the closer, Yours Is My Heart Alone he sounded as if Scott attended the recording session and coached him.

As a rule, when I blog about a recording, I never rely on my first impression. I listen to an album over and over until I’m absolutely sure I either love it or I hate it. That changed this morning when I played One For Shirley. This album exicted. You really captured Scott. She could make you dance and cry in the same breath. This album is a fitting gesture of appreciation to the lady who taught you to swing.
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