Saxophonist Tim Warfield’s fifth CD as a leader on the Criss Cross label, his first in six years, is a diverse collection of original compositions, obscure and known jazz standards, a traditional gospel song, and a 60s pop hit. The music’s common thread is that it was inspired by, performed by, or performed with the late organist/pianist Shirley Scott (1934-2002) one of Warfield’s mentors on the Philadelphia jazz scene, a musician best known through her recordings with saxophonists Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Stanley Turrentine, her husband at the time, during the 50s and 60s.
For this recording Warfield put together a group consisting of a frequent collaborator, trumpeter Terell Stafford, drummer Byron Landham, percussionist Daniel Sadownick, who plays on 3 of the 10 selections, and organist Pat Bianchi., I was not familiar with Bianchi before this CD, but his bass lines are strong, his right hand is nimble, and I expect to hear more of him in the future. After almost 20 years on the jazz scene, Warfield’s soulful tenor sax is one of the most recognizable sounds in jazz, equally adept on ballads as well as burners. Stafford’s playing always displays an ideal combination of technique and fire while Landham, best known as Joey DeFrancesco’s drummer, is solid as usual.
I think Scott would be pleased with this musical tribute, for as people say these days, "It’s all good". Duke Pearson’s "Christo Redentor fits so well as an opening prelude to a hard swinging rendition of the traditional gospel song "Calvary" that it is hard to imagine these two tunes separately. Sonny Bono’s "The Beat Goes On" the 60s pop hit. is funky and playful, with a groove reminiscient of "The Sidewinder". The standard "Stomping at the Savoy. swings easy and features Warfield and Stafford trading choruses before the Bianchi’s solo. Warfield’s "Tokyo Girl is a beautiful feature for Warfield’s soprano sax. The title track is surprisingly uptempo, with a melody reminiscent of "Impressions". This is an excellent addition to the Warfield discography and high on my list as one of 2008’s best releases.