When saxophonist, composer and bandleader Dan White releases his 4th album Your Song on September 13th, 2014, it will include a titular track for the Dan White Sextet’s third album that’s as instantly engaging as it is labyrinth, a hard thing to pull off. “Your Song” is as dynamic and full of nifty little turns as life itself.
Co-written with trumpeter Jon Lampley and trombonist Chris Ott, it’s got the punchy horn harmonies you’d expect from a tune conceived by brass and reed guys. The song takes a circuitous but lucid route to White’s heartfelt tenor sax feature that somehow stays inside an ever-shifting pocket. It might owe some debt to the Jazz Messengers, but White and his guys (who also include drummer John Hubbell, guitarist Josh Hill, bassist Adam DeAscentis and pianist Theron Brown) update the sound with modern, contemporary jazz touches and the end product is something that manages to pull some of the best elements of both. Yet, it’s no haphazard hybrid, it’s just solid state, Dan White Sextet music.
That jives with White’s own account of how this song came to be; he and his cohorts learned that “If you are going to put a creative work out there, then it needs to be your own.” and they lived up to this mantra with this song, “Your Song.”
“Your Song” is part of a larger project White was commissioned to write — and like 2013’s play — all held together by an overriding theme. That theme is a collection of stories by musicians gathered by White, Ott and Lampley as they embarked on a two-week road trip across the USA. Afterwards, the Sextet headed into the studio and absorbed and digested these rich experiences. As White put it, “The adventure pushed us to experiment with styles and genres we had never before explored. By embracing spontaneity, and seeking reflection and originality in each piece, we developed a collection of songs that feature improvisation and the entire group playing in the moment.”
Driving around to embrace the world around you is good for the soul.