By Pierre Giroux
Walt Weiskopf – The Way You Say It – Posi-Tone PR 8150, 51:32
A spirited and accomplished session from a creative band.
(Walt Weiskopf – tenor saxophone; Brian Charette – organ; Behn Gillece – vibraphone; Steve Fidyk – drums)
A review of the discography of Walt Weiskopf, either as a leader or sideman, points to a versatile player who appears to be at home in a variety of musical forms and circumstances. His early influences were John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, and although they still poke their noses in his style today, nevertheless, he is very much his own man and his latest release The Way You Say It shows it.
Working with a cohort that includes organist Brian Charente, vibraphonist Behn Gillece and drummer Steve Fidyk, the quartet tackles a set list of predominantly Weiskopf originals but sprinkled with three tasty covers including Charlie Parker’s “Segment”, the Joe Zawinul/Wayne Shorter number “Scarlet Woman” and that old standby “Candy” written by Alex Kramer, Mack David and Joan Whitney.
Starting with “Coffee And Scones” which sounds more like breakfast than a musical number, the band deals with it in exemplary fashion as Weiskopf shows incisive poise, and vibraphonist Gillette is fully expressive. Both “Inntoene” and “Blues Combination” are taken at warp speed but the band shows unflagging energy and versatility in both.
In the first of the covers “Candy” is a mellow offering, full of sensitivity and Weiskopf’s full tone, as he runs up and down his instrument. Organist Charette maintains subtle comping in the background. Buoyed by Steve Fidyk’s inventive drumming, “Scarlet Woman” is a cerebral exploration of the theme, with all participants quietly inspiring, as they draw interesting musical patterns in their interplay. The Charlie Parker number “Segment” is one of his lesser known pieces, yet is still has all the requisite bop-like features. The speedy notes and the chord changes are all handled by the group with aplomb.
The session ends with the title track “The Way You Say It” which is a moderate tempo structured number that is a perfect feature for Weiskopf as he shows his granular expressiveness. Organist Charette gives his instrument a melodic tone that is in keeping with overall intention of the composition.
TrackList: Coffee And Scones; Separation; Inntoene; Dreamlining; Blues Combination; Candy; Envisioned; Invisible Sun; Manny Boy; Scarlet Woman; Segment; The Way You Say It