Jerome Richardson: Warm Valley
Jerome Richardson (baritone sax)
Roamin' With Richardson (Prestige/New Jazz OJCCD1849-2)
Composed by Duke Ellington.
Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, October 21, 1959
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Jerome Richardson was one of the best and most successful musicians on the New York scene during the last golden age of the recording industry. He combined a studio musician's versatility and professionalism with a jazzman's flexibility and intuition. In addition to being a recognized heavyweight among jazz flutists, he was seemingly the only saxophonist capable of playing first-rate jazz on all four saxes, from soprano to baritone, sounding like a specialist on each. His skills on the soprano inspired its use by Thad Jones, and thus Jerome can also be said to have indirectly had a huge impact on contemporary jazz arranging.
Jerome's baritone style combined a bebop-oriented harmonic conception with articulation and tone quality derived from Harry Carney. Though the Carney connection is thrown into bold relief by the selection of this Ellington masterpiece as a baritone feature, Jerome is totally his own man here. His sound employs a well-balanced combination of warmth and edge, and his articulation is crystal-clear in all registers, with none of the tubbiness that usually afflicts players who double on baritone. His solo is masterfully constructed, and his double-timing is fluent and always musical. His ability to combine boppish fluency with Ellingtonian warmth is beautiful to hear. Richard Wyands is his usual warmly lyrical self as both accompanist and soloist.
Reviewer: Kenny Berger