Tim Warfield delivers an inspired performance on his aptly titled release Inspire Me!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Those who can play...those that gave up write about it. So now that we have our roles clearly defined let me hip you to perhaps the finest all around saxophonist to come out of the Young Lion's movement of the early 90's and remain a formidable force on the scene today. What sets Tim Warfield apart from a significant number of his contemporaries is he has no wheelhouse. While some saxophonists embrace ballads and never really leave that vibe, Warfield can move from a ballad that will touch you heart to a foot to the floor burner that will set your hair on fire!
Warfield is equally as proficient on tenor as he is on soprano. There are no weak links in his arsenal and perhaps this is but one of the reasons Warfield is a highly respected educator as well as an improvisational master.
While battling a chronic life threatening illness, I found myself burned out. Great music was reaching my desk on a regular basis but nothing inspiring, nothing was moving me. Inspire Me is lyrically focused and is indeed old school becoming new cool. Herb Harris is responsible for producing, arranging, and writing Inspire Me, oh and he drops some vocals on "What If's" and "A Tinge Of Melancholy" and blows some tenor on "NY Daze NY Knights." The rest of the performers here are artists clearly on the same page, a jazz collective going back to the future with the sound of one of Benny Golson's or Hank Mobley's bands. No covers, no need as these artists are well versed in the past and allow that spirit to guide their future instead of muting their own individual voice of expression for the present.
I am often criticized for not writing on a more technical plane concerning improvisational music, I can having played and studied over twenty years but I choose not to. Improvisational music is a feeling be it swing, a blues, or any other harmonic sense of direction the artist chooses. How do you know when you are in love? You feel it. You feel this music and this music asks nothing in return but for you to listen.
Tim Warfield is one of the handful of artists that can make old school new cool. It is this regeneration of the soul and spirit that will allow jazz to have a fighting chance as a viable artistic force in this country. In the day of the digital download we have the real deal, the improvisational truth of Tim Warfield.
Tracks: Monkee See Monkee Doo; Robert Earl; NY Daze NY Knights; When I'm Alone With You; Inspire Me!; What If's; A Tinge Of The Melancholy; Monkee See Monkee Doo (Alternate Take)
Personnel: Tim Warfield: Tenor Saxophone; Herb Harris: Vocals (6&7), Tenor Saxophone (3); Antoine Drye: Trumpet (1,2,3,5,8); Kevin Hays: Piano; Greg Williams: Bass; Rodney Green: Drums.