Half Notes: Dan Wilensky – Back in the Mix (2012)

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Back in the mix, indeed. You might initially be drawn in by the compelling new arrangements of “Lament” by J.J. Johnson, Cole Porter’s “Falling In Love With Love” and “Tenderly” by Gross and Lawrence, but you’ll keep coming back to Dan Wilensky’s fourth album of a leader because of its six original compositions — each of them a canny showcase for the Ann Arbor, Michigan native’s crisp individualism on the sax. A former guest soloist with the Woody Herman Orchestra, Wilensky has gone on to play in staggeringly varied number of settings — from a Bob Fosse play on Broadway to a sideman gig with Joan Baez, from the TV house band for Joy Behar to hit records by Santana, Madonna and Hall and Oates, among many, many others. That layered musical sensibility only deepens the complexity of Back in the Mix. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that Wilensky’s crack band includes alumni from the bands of Lee Konitz (Russ Johnson) and Sonny Rollins (Mark Soskin), too.

‘Half Notes’ are quick-take thoughts on music from Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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