Personnel: Gary Smulyan (baritone saxophone); Joe Magnarelli (trumpet, flugelhorn); Mike LeDonne (piano); Dennie Irwin (bass); Kenny Washington (drums).
Recorded at Avatar Studios, New York, New York on August 8, 2002. Includes liner notes by Scott Yanow.
Gary Smulyan, a passionate baritone saxophonist whose main inspiration is Pepper Adams, sounds at his best on this quintet set with trumpeter Joe Magnarelli, pianist Mike LeDonne, bassist Dennis Irwin, and drummer Kenny Washington. The music includes some hard-swinging straight-ahead romps and warm ballads. Among the highlights are Pepper Adams' "Cindy's Tune" (a tricky line written over the chord changes of "Honeysuckle Rose"), the obscure "Satan (Wears a Satin Gown)," "Young Afro Brown" (based on "Sweet Georgia Brown"), "All My Life," and the slow blues "Sassy Missy." This superior hard bop set serves as a perfect introduction to the playing of Gary Smulyan. ~ Scott Yanow