The Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra has featured a young saxophonist who, based on his debut as leader, sounds like he’ll be a player to be reckoned with. Walt Weiskopf’s Exact Science (Iris Records, P.O. Box 422, Port Washington, New York 11050), a CD that just about explodes with intriguing ideas, is one of the year’s best surprises. This quartet release isn’t exactly mainstream. Unless your idea of main stream is Joe Henderson, John Coltrane, and Andrew Hill — three of the more apparent influences Weiskopf uses to excellent effect on the nine originals here.
Rodgers and Hart’s “Falling in Love with Love” is the only standard. Weiskopf’s tenor is solid in body and thrust; his writing, though, is what makes this release a standout. It’s variously ethereal, gritty, introspective and shocking. Brother Joel Weiskopf on piano, drummer Jeff Hirshfield, and bassist Jay Anderson stay in the groove the entire way, maintaining the spirit of the leader’s fine compositions.