Jake Saslow – Crosby Street (2011)

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photos: Steven Crawford

Born in Soho and raised mostly at Long Island, the sights, sounds and ways of the Big Apple were never foreign to tenor specialist Jake Saslow.

Imbued with a strong jazz sensibility starting with growing up downstairs from Barry Altschul to learning from Terence Blanchard and Dave Liebman, Saslow’s deeply lyrical but thoroughly modern sax dialect served as the perfect companion on Michael Bublé’s records. But as a fresh graduate (in 2009) from the Monk Institute with a masters in jazz studies, and he takes his first step forward as a leader with Crosby Street.

Assembling a crew he knows well, these cats also happen to be musicians rightfully well known to many in the NYC scene: bassist Joe Martin, guitarist Mike Moreno, pianist Fabian Almazan and drummer Marcus Gilmore. Saslow displays a warm, human tone, a sure sense of harmony and an innate ability to play the spaces between the notes as much as the notes themselves.

Those attributes are most noticeable on “Early Riser,” “How Things Were,” and “Until Next Time.” Moreno’s airy, liquid lines make the right counterpoint, and on the odd-signature tune “Lucky 13,” his guitar’s engaging personality really shines. Amongst six Saslow originals is one cover, “Lonely Woman” (the Horace Silver song, not the Ornette Coleman one), where Saslow’s romantic, smokey style blends in well with this old school song, and stripping down the band to just a drums-bass-sax trio for it was an inspired decision.

Already in his young career, Jake Saslow has accomplished a lot with this album, demonstrating an ability to compose, play and lead like a seasoned pro. As he goes further along, I suspect he’ll make his own signature mark on jazz but for now, Crosby Street makes a fine rendering of modern mainstream jazz.

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Crosby Street was released September 27 by Saslow’s own 14th Street Records. Visit Jake Saslow’s website.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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