By Derek Taylor | Dusted Magazine
Calling Coltrane an influence is an exercise in stating the obvious for most saxophonists under the age of sixty. The undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the horn still exerts a seismic impact so vast as to be nearly indelible. Tenorist Walt Weiskopf is one of the multitude who came under the Coltrane thrall early in his artistic inquiry, but like the best of that number he’s been able to wrestle inspiration into submission in the service of a sound he can accurately call his own. The Way You Say It registers as his sixteenth effort as a leader and it’s the first to feature him with the singular instrumentation of organ, vibraphone and drums.
Nine out of the dozen tunes originate from Weiskopf’s imagination with three carefully chosen covers covering the diverse stylistic bases of Forties Pop (“Candy”), Bird (“Segment”) and Weather Report (“Scarlet Woman”). The originals are as eclectic as they are numerous, making the most of Weiskopf’s sideman choices particularly in the pick of organist Brian Charette who applies a modernist sensibility to the instrument right in line with past greats like John Patton and Larry Young. Vibraphonist Behn Gillece draws from a comparable lineage in echoing the advancements of Bobby Hutcherson and Khan Jamal. Drummer Steve Fidyk takes readily to the demands of sustaining a rhythmic fulcrum for Weiskopf’s shifting frameworks.
“Coffee and Scones” acts as fortifying opener for the foursome with first leader and then Gillece and Charette riffing on a bustling soul bop motif. The organist’s pedal bass line is especially effective in advancing a groove alongside Fidyk’s steady snare accents. “Separation” slows the action down to a smoldering ballad tempo with both organ and vibes opening up tonally in response as the leader raises sail on the theme and later turns in a flexing, propulsive solo for contrast. “Innotene” and “Blues Combustion” table contrast for straight up incandescence igniting on fleet tempi and tight, dime-turning contours. Weiskopf keeps all but one of the cuts in the under-five-minute range ensuring that none wear out welcome through overelaboration. Points earned for originality in both design and execution, Weiskopf and crew have come up with vibrant and viable alternative to the all-too-common organ combo longueurs.