****RINGER OF THE WEEK****The New Vision Sax Ensemble: Musical Journey Through Time

Sorry if I sound prejudiced, but any time a sax quartet emerges, I get excited. Blame it on my being weaned on Duke Ellington’s, Count Basie’s  and Woody Herman’s sax sections, but even when I hear The World Saxophone Quartet, my ears just heave a sigh of thanks to the Good Lord. And, with the WSQ on the shelf after taking the concept to its logical conclusion, I figured there were no more bands to carry the baton.

But, lo and behold! The team of Diron Holloway/ss-cl-as, James Lockhart/as, Jason Hainsworth/ts and Melton R. Nustafa/bs got together to sound like a sax version of The Persuasions on this wonderfully reedy collection of songs from various stages of jazz history and beyond. The horns sound delicious on an R&B read of “A Night In Tunisia” with Holloway’s alto and Hainsworths’s tenor weaving through the reeds, while a vibrato as wide as the Grand Canyon creates agonizing textures on “Round Midnight.” Lockhart goes bel canto on “I Feel Pretty” and the team strides with joy and confidence on a spritely delivered “Scott Joplin Portrait.” A panoramic medley of themes from “Porgy and Bess” is rich and textured, and with a closing “Amazing Grace,” the band takes you back to the beginning of jazz, American music and the reason for living. A ton of fun!


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