By Downbeat

★★★★ POSI-TONE 8126

On Overdrive, tenor saxophonist Walt Weiskopf announces his presence with a three-note rhythmic figure on the same pitch, giving each note enough weight and drive to encapsulate his outlook for “The Path Is Narrow” and the entire disc as a whole.

That short figure, which repeats four times, gives way to a behind-the-beat, easygoing melody that in turn moves to a frenetic solo section. Weiskopf is then off, easily sliding up and down the horn, maintaining his deep, reedy, but impressively brilliant and bright sound even in the upper register. All the while, his rhythm section keeps pace, letting Weiskopf push out as many technically flawless musical ideas as his fingers can find.

Weiskopf composed nine of the 10 tunes on Overdrive, and the majority of them center around the equivalent of musical tongue- twisters, with melodies flowing this way and that, branching out left and right, at a quick tempo. The tunes are etude-like in their demands, but stand out for their musicality. Weiskopf pairs these melodies with equally spellbinding solos, giving equal opportunity to his bandmates—vibraphonist Behn Gillece, guitarist Yotam Silberstein, pianist Peter Zak, bassist David Wong and drum-mer Donald Edwards—and each of them turn in admirable improvisations.

The tenor dials down the tempo for two tunes—“Jewel And A Flower” and “Waltz For Dad”—and proves that his tenacious approach to jazz doesn’t wane when the tempo slows down. Michel Legrand’s sultry “What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?” is given a bit more urgency than the original—which draws its power from syrupy, liquid vocal lines—but in the end, this cover comes off as a slight blemish on an otherwise formidable album. —Jon Ross

Overdrive: The Path Is Narrow; Like Mike; Jewel And A Flower; Night Vision; Overdrive; Waltz For Dad; Four Horsemen; Midwinter Night’s Dream; What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?; No Biz. (50:36)

Personnel: Walt Weiskopf, tenor; Behn Gillece, vibraphone; Yotam Silberstein, guitar; Peter Zak, piano; David Wong, bass; Donald

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