Monday, January 25, 2010

Stephen Gauci, Notable Tenor Saxist and Bandleader

Stephen Gauci has one of those well-developed, well-burnished freebop tenor sax styles. He has been making a number of records under his own name and with the Michael Bisio group, mostly for CIMP Records. We've looked at some of them on this and the other Gapplegate Blogs.

Today we consider his Absolute, Absolutely (CIMP), a quartet date recorded a few years ago but no less current for it. The CD provides a long, generous set of music that shows Gauci at his best, as player and as a writer of originals. With him is a crack group of associates: there's Nate Wooley on trumpet, who has little by little created a commanding position among New York based trumpeters of the freebop stripe; the very seasoned, extraordinarily capable Ken Filiano holds the bass chair and teams with drumming vet Lou Grassi, a man who swings infectiously and coaxes a wide spectrum of sounds and attack weights from his kit in the free-er sections.

This is Gauci's show, though, and he turns in a set of performances that demonstrate ably his utter command and inventiveness on the sax family's big brother. He can be robust, bursting with energy and musical ideas, or subdued, spinning phrases that cajole Nate Wooley to counter with equally interesting musical sounds.

This is new jazz of the best sort and there is much to hear, appreciate and revel in. Absolute, Absolutely is absolute in setting the standard for a well-schooled, exhilarating brand of new jazz.

Check out the details by going to, then clicking on the CIMP section.

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