Vancouver tenor saxophonist Cory Weeds teams up with New York pianist David Hazeltine in this impressive live outing. Recorded at Smalls in NYC, the album’s nine tunes make a compelling case for the variety to be found in contemporary mainstream jazz. The programming is an eclectic mix of standards and originals with Hazeltine’s considerable arranging skills shedding new light on a few old chestnuts.
The opening track, Kenny Drew’s With Prestige establishes the band’s hard-bop credentials. Weeds sounds right at home here, incorporating a relaxed, swinging style with a big tone and impeccable lines. Trumpeter Joe Magnarelli’s loose, behind-the-beat phrasing opens into a tour de force of double-time ideas. Hazeltine demonstrates a classic style, playing with a deep-time feel and exquisite taste. Paul Gill’s arco bass solo summons up Paul Chambers in its facility, sound and note choice.
The late Ross Taggart, a brilliant musician/composer and a Vancouver compatriot of Weeds, is remembered in two of his compositions. Expose introduces a modal vibe to the recording, and the players take full advantage of the leeway it allows. Solos explore greater angularity and Hazeltine makes a playful reference to Surrey With A Fringe On Top. Drummer Jason Tiemann contributes aggressive, up-tempo playing and an explosive solo. The title track, It’s Easy To Remember is full of twists and turns. All of the players negotiate Hazeltine’s complex arrangement with the combination of confidence and abandon that defines this recording.