Half Notes: Adam Schroeder – A Handful Of Stars (2010)

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by S. Victor Aaron

Schroeder is part of an emerging and exciting new crop of tradition-minded jazz talents like Michael Dease, Graham Dechter and Hailey Niswanger. As a baritone saxophonist, though, Schroeder is keeping alive a flame that’s been flickering probably since Gerry Mulligan’s death in 1996. Schroeder’s debut A Handful Of Stars does a nice job keeping Mulligan’s spirit alive and even though he goes piano-less like Mulligan, he brought in Dechter to handle the chords. Jeff Hamilton mans the drums and John Clayton is on bass. Together, the quartet runs through a set of nine covers and two Schroeder originals (the soul groover “Midwest Mash” and a melancholy “Hidden Within”). The covers, like Quincy Jones’ “Jessica’s Birthday” and Barry Harris’ “Nascimento” are a refreshingly break from the usual overdone covers. Schroader’s baritone is like a fine beer: full bodied, but smooth. A Handful Of Stars is a debut that demands more attention for Schroeder.

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