Lenny Pickett with the UMO Jazz Orchestra: The Prescription

I know one of the 10 Commandments tells us not to envy, but I can’t help being just a LITTLE envious of Lenny Pickett’s career. Sax man for the Tower of Power when they were THE band in the 70s, and then getting a nice gig with the Saturday Night Live band, not to mention sessions with David Bowie and David Byrne. Ok, I’m over it now.

This latest album by the tenor saxist finds him showing why he’s a #1 call guy. He leads the full throttled UMO Jazz Orchestra through a mix of soul, funk and jazz and gets you up on your feet in seconds flat. He even shows off his E-flat clarinet work on the fun and funky “Alex Foster” (which also includes a nice alto sax solo by Jouni Jarvela), but for the most part, it’s the tenor that is going to float your boat. Some blues get rocking with guitarist Teemu Viinikainen mixing it up with the leader,  while the slow and swaying “XV” pops the clutch halfway through for a E ticket ride. Some guitar whacka wooka on the title track evokes memories of Tower of Power, as does a remake of “What is Hip?” while some rich and lovely harmonies frame Pickett on “Kathy.” And, if you’re looking for chops, get a load of Pickett going turbo on his solo while the rhythm section bops till it drops on “The Big Wiggle.” Lots to like here from one of the grand masters of the tenor sax.

Random Act Records


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