Wayne Escoffery, The Humble Warrior Review
Wayne Escoffery is a New York city-based tenor saxophonist and composer. He is A Grammy Award winner and DownBeat Critics Poll winner. Although Escoffery is only thirty-two-years old, he has already enjoyed a stand-out career and ample accolades. He has performed with a who’s who of jazz, including Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Abdullah Ibrahim, Al Foster, Billy Hart, Eddie Henderson, Wallace Roney, and others. He has been a member of the Mingus Dynasty, Big Band and Orchestra since 2000 and toured and recorded with Tom Harrell for over a decade. In addition to his Quartet, Escoffery co-leads the Black Art Jazz Collective along with other leading voices of his generation and the next. The Humble Warrior denotes Escoffery’s debut for Smoke Sessions Records as a leader. The album features pianist David Kikoski, bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Ralph Peterson with a guest appearance by trumpeter Randy Brecker and guitarist David Gilmore.Positives: The Humble Warrior displays virtuosic playing by everyone, and the music is filled with imagination with rock-solid respect for the jazz tradition.
Bottom Line: The Humble Warrior is ten tracks that feature Escoffery’s fiery tenor playing and an interactive quartet. “Chain Gang” is an energetic opener, with a rotating chordal pattern from Kikoski, as the melody floats through the changes. The piano solo is focused and driving as Okegwo and Peterson propel the feel and interact to help build the music to a climax. Escoffery’s solo is just as driving, and his interaction with Peterson is outstanding. “Quarter Moon” is a relaxed swing selection that captures Escoffery’s more tender vocabulary. His phrasing is well-structured, and his tone is round and beautiful. The ensemble is buoyant, and everyone shows a deep understanding of the tradition on this one. The title track is a medium straight-eight selection. Brecker’s trumpet playing sits well with Escoffery, and the two have a chemistry and sound. Brecker sounds amazing during his solo, his tone is always round, spot-on pitch, and creative in his phrasing. The Humble Warrior is a wide-ranging album that shows Escoffery’s versatility, creativity, and ability to pay homage to the tradition while still creating an ambitious musical statement. That’s the short of it!
Connect with Wayne Escoffery: Website |
The Humble Warrior
The Humble Warrior
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Release Date: April 10, 2020