Those that can, play! From journalist to jazz musician Zan Stewart completes the circle with a marvelous debut recording!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
From the L.A. Times to Down Beat to performing artist, Zan Stewart has all the basses covered. Five solid originals are mixed in with some standards along with some Bud Powell and Charlie Parker to allow for a revealing look at an artist whose first release comes at seventy!
Featuring Stewart (right) with his working band (l. to r.) of pianist Keith Saunders, bassist Adam Gay, and drummer Ron Marabuto.
Stewart is not a new comer in the traditional sense having continuously played on the side. A decision to leave journalism finds Zan Stewart taking a more hands on approach to not only his career but his passion. A highly lyrical player with a warm open sound that may best be described as that musical happy place somewhere between Coleman Hawkins and Stan Getz shows off Stewart as a prolific ballad performer with his own tune "Mobes' Symphony" which meticulously morphs into "Everything Happens To Me." Showing off an inspiring command of his horn, the minor key Charlie Parker "Diverse" is an old school burner that takes no prisoners.
This aptly titled release runs the sonic spectrum from samba grooves to lyrical ballads. The mix is eclectic, the execution is tight on and the band can swing. Were it not for the acknowledgment that this is a debut release, this working band has a sound that other bands that have been working together for decades are still searching for. Perfect? Uh, no...But Coleman Hawkins once said, "If you don't make mistakes you aren't really trying."
Tracks: Daddy's Blue Song; Love Letters; Webb City; Gals 'Round The Hood; Laird Baird; Medley: Mobes' Symphony/Everything Happens To Me; The Street Is Making Music; Polka Dots and Moonbeams; Diverse; Zansky; Gals 'Round The Hood (Alternate Take).
Personnel: Zan Stewart: Tenor Saxophone; Keith Saunders: Piano; Adam Gay: Bass; Ron Marabuto: Drums.