(Z Music ZM102)
Tenor saxophonist Dann Zinn has what I’d call a very human sound – it’s personal, articulated, and you can almost imagine what his speaking or singing voice might sound like just from listening to his horn.
The Director of Jazz Studies at California State University East Bay also sometimes reminds me of Ernie Watts at times – maybe it’s that West Coast air.
For this disc, the third under his own name (he has been a sideman on countless other albums), he has Taylor Eigsti on piano, John Shifflett on bass and Alan Hall on drums.
The opener, Live And Learn, has a strong and lyrical tune and is a fine introduction to Zinn’s sound. For Western Skies he puts his horn through a harmoniser and becomes an electric horn section – the track has a fusion edge as a result, like a modern Eddie Harris. Even at speed, Zinn is articulate and keeps his tone characterful – not an easy thing to achieve.
The title track has a gospel feel to it – perhaps it’s the word “Grace” that gives it a natural link to the “Amazing” song. It features a precisely nuanced and also almost-vocal solo from Shifflett. Eigsti and Hall are equally tasty players and the whole thing has fine recording sound.
Al the tunes are Zinn originals apart from his reworking of Sting’s King Of Pain (a good choice and a blessed relief from Fragile) and Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust - there isn’t a weak track.
A lovely album, full of life-giving energy, then, its “street date” as the Americans call it, is early next month, but you can buy it now on cdbaby – just go to www.dannzinn.com and click on the button.
Categories: CD review