Recent CDs: Oatts And Perry (And Danko)

I told you more than a year ago about Hinesight, pianist Harold Danko’s terrific trio tribute to Earl Hines. It’s high time that I mentioned Danko’s quite different quintet CD called Oatts and Perry. That is the title because of Danko’s admiration for alto saxophonist Dick Oatts and tenor saxophonist Rich Perry, his colleagues since their days together in the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra.
Quiet as it is bafflingly kept, Oatts and Perry are two of the most resourceful, inventive and stimulating soloists in jazz, and have been for more than two decades. Finally, Danko assembled them in a studio with bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Jeff Hirshfield and produced one of the best jazz albums of 2006. The repertoire consists of classics by Romberg, Coltrane, Monk, Sam Jones, Thad Jones, Horace Silver, and Danko’s own jazz standard, “Tidal Breeze.” In an age of soundalikes, Oatts’ and Perry’s styles are contrasting, compatible and full of easily identifiable individuality. Their work in ensemble and in solo on Monk’s “I Mean You” is some of the happiest playing I’ve heard in a long time. Indeed, the entire collection radiates enjoyment and satisfacton. Fortunately, although the emphasis in Oatts and Perry is on the saxophonists, Danko allots himself plenty of solo time. The Rifftides staff recommends this CD and, while we’re at it, applauds Steeplechase for leaving ten seconds of silence between tracks, time for mental adjustment.

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  1. George Ziskind says

    Re: your controlled rave for “Oatts and Perry” this morning, I’ve been listening to and loving this one for close to six months. Never before have I heard two guys, together or separately, play so many “wrong” notes that all sound so deliciously right.