Sam Most was an improvisational pioneer, New Jazz Standards shows at 82 there was plenty of gas left in the tank!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Sam Most passed away in 2013 at 82, New Jazz Standards is his last recording and a more than fitting tribute to an improvisational original. Not familiar with Sam? Sorry to hear that...In 1953 Most began making some rattling some cages with Undercurrent Blues. Sam Most was one of the first jazz flute artists to master bop and he was the first to hum through his flute which was a technique later made famous by the great Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Virtuoso is a term critics should use with extreme caution except when used in context with the career of Sam Most, equally adept on clarinet! There was an unbridled joy to his playing that permeated each recording and performance and with New Jazz Standards.
An all star rhythm section including pianists Christian Jacob and bassist Kevin Axt propel Most to an amazing lyrical level. Age and declining health are simply irrelevant when considering the value of a recording that includes stylistic scatting with "Is That Asking Too Much" and a blistering baritone saxophone outing on "Blues Mix." While lyrical consistency and a vibrant lift are the harmonic threads that run through this melodic mosaic, the ballad "Not A Sonata In Eb" and the standard in the making "I Knew All Along" are but two of the memorable highlights of this charming release.
Age is mind over matter, if you don't mind then age doesn't matter. Sam Most left us with a final recording that could rival a similar outing by some of his younger contemporaries. An improvisational life well lived, a pioneer, and a continuing inspiration has New Jazz Standards as a more than fitting homage to what music is all about - joy!
Tracks: Bouncing Off The Blues; Scataspangalang; Not A Sonata In Eb; Dear Laffayette; Samba De Nise; Is That Asking Too Much; Waking Up Is Hard To Do; Blues Mix; I Knew All Along; Splatter On The Platter; Plight Of The Pleebes; Twinkling Eye.
Personnel: Sam Most: Alto Flute, Flute, Clarinet, Vocals, Scatting, Baritone Sax; Christian Jacob: Piano; Kevin Axt: Bass; Santo Savino: Drums; Leddie Garcia: Percussion.