Tim Ries is most well known for playing saxophone with the Rolling Stones, but as this live set from the New York City jazz club Smalls shows, he’s an accomplished jazz musician as well. On this album he plays soprano and saxophone joined by Chris Potter on tenor saxophone, Kalman Olah on piano and Billy Drummond on drums. “Last Kabbalist of Lisbon” opens with a bass solo, with the band slowly building in and ramping up the pace. Ries builds a hot soprano solo building well under the firm push of drums and bass. Potter sweeps in on tenor saxophone, developing a powerful lusty solo. Piano and bass take solo turns before the full band returns for the conclusion. “Summer To Remember” has a swinging medium-up tempo, developing strong, tough mainstream jazz over tenor saxophone and excellent drumming. After a piano, bass and drums interlude, saxophone solo number two builds hard really going for it in a hard-swinging yet well controlled manner. After a solid bass solo, the band return to take things out. A shorter ballad interlude breaks up the cookers with “Nice View” featuring a Ben Webster type brawny heart-on-sleeve tenor saxophone solo. They move into the highlight of the evening, a twenty-five minute blow-out of “Death and the Maiden” beginning with a mellow start and building deeply over saxophone and swinging rhythm. Rolling hard, the uptempo tenor saxophone engages with bass and drums with Ries’ soprano pokes and probes at the edges. The group dynamically shifts between medium tempo sections anchored by the piano, bass and drum team while heating up with the horns enter, keeping the music interesting over its epic length. There is a short coda/encore feature for Kalman Olah on piano, playing “Prelude to Bach Cello Suite” unaccompanied to wrap things up. Live at Smalls - amazon.com
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