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Live at St. Nicks by Salim Washington

Not being that familiar with Memphis, TN native and multi-woodwind artist Salim Washington’s career, only amplifies the significance of this outing. And it looms as an unexpected surprise for 2008. Regardless, this live recording offers a hearty sampling of the artist's lengthy stint at New York City's St. Nick's music club.

Washington’s sextet conveys fond memories of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, although this unit delves more into the free-jazz realm but its intensity and raw firepower does indeed draw a resemblance. Some of the highlights pertain to the sextet’s two takes on sax great Joe Henderson’s minor-classic piece titled "Shade of Jade." Nonetheless, the group’s staple is built upon bustling rhythms, punchy horns choruses and a big sound. Here, violaist Melani Dyer takes the edge off many of the torrid movements, but also assists with injecting a powerful component via her gleaming staccato lines.

The musicians are afforded ample amounts of soloing space. They explore via a winding course while soaring towards towards the heavens on occasion. As Washington is a strong presence, largely on tenor sax. They finalize the proceedings with Pharoah Sanders’ "The Creator Has a Master Plan," featuring Donna Cumberbatch’s vocals atop sonorous horns, viola and piano phrasings, where the band elevates matters into the red zone. One thing is for certain: this is live jazz at its very finest. Washington’s crew communicates vast synergy while generating an air of excitement that is radiantly transferred to disc. Zealously recommended...

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Salim Washington
  • CD Title: Live at St. Nicks
  • Genre: Various Jazz Styles
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: CIMPoL
  • Tracks: Shade of Jade; Harlem Homecoming, You Can Fly, Shade of Jade; Stranded, The Creator Has a Master plan
  • Musicians: Salim Washington (Tenor Saxophone), Donald Smith (Piano), Melani Dyer (Viola), Ku-Umba Frank Lacy (Trombone), Aaron James (Bass), Mark Johnson (Drums), Donna Cumberbatch (Vocals)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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