Swing is the thing on this enormously enjoyable outing by baritone saxophonist Joe Temperley and tenor saxophonist Harry Allen. The album features the 77-year-old Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra stalwart Temperley and the 40-year-old ex-wunderkind Allen leading a superbly sympathetic rhythm section (John Bunch on piano, Greg Cohen on bass and Jake Hanna on drums) in front of an appreciative audience at the Rocky Mountain Jazz Party in Denver.
This isn't a take-no-prisoners saxophone battle in the mold of the legendary face-offs between tenor titans like Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt. Instead, it's a gentler affair, a meeting of complementary souls, who, whether playing in tandem or on their own, share an unswerving dedication to swing.
The mood is warm and congenial as the two saxophonists trade smooth, expressive solos on standards like "Tangerine, "I've Got the World on a String and "Sweet and Lovely. Each gets a ballad feature too, with Allen showcasing his breathy, Stan Getz-inspired tenor on "Everything Happens To Me and Temperley his elegant baritone on "Polka Dots and Moonbeams.
While it's a mostly relaxed affair, the group revs things up on a pair of Ellington and Basie classics, "In A Mellotone and "Jumpin' at the Woodside, on which Allen and Temperley evoke a big-band horn section all by themselves. There's nothing particularly new or innovative here, just great jazz played beautifully by an exceptional group of musicians.
Track Listing: Cocktails For Two; Blues In the Closet; My Romance; I've Got the World On a String; Tangerine, Everything Happens To Me; Polka Dots & Moonbeams; In a Mellotone; Sweet & Lovely; Jumpin' At the Woodside.
Personnel: Harry Allen: tenor saxophone; Joe Temperley: baritone saxophone; John Bunch: piano; Greg Cohen: bass; Jake Hanna: drums.