Jeremy Udden: Torchsongs (2006)
Udden shows the ability to play in different styles ranging from lyrical to avant-garde. He claims to have been inspired by Lee Konitz, and one can hear that in his technique. The opening track on Torchsongs, "Every Step," a relaxed mid-tempo composition, begins with a wash from the mid-1960s, as if you were listening to one of the Paul Desmond/Jim Hall RCA mood jazz sessions with Udden (he does play soprano sax on this track); Matt Wilson's brushes provide a pretty fair impression of Connie Kay.
The second track, "Tut Muffin," plays along at the same tempo with a more modern accompaniment from Genovese on Fender Rhodes. Bob Brookmeyer turns up on "Marin" and, after his solo, intertwines contrapuntally with Udden's soprano on valve trombone, as if it were still the mid-1950s on Pacific Jazz Records. A fragmentary cover of Steve Lacy's "Blinks" is a lot closer to free jazz. Genovese's fusion-ish Rhodes solo sets the tone, while drummer Ziv Ravitz and Monder provide the dissonance.
The '80s pop hit "Eternal Flame" provides a touching melody statement and solo from Udden alto sax, but also sets up an ear-splitting rock solo from Monder on guitar. Brookmeyer and Udden (on alto) provide a closing coda on the duet "Afterthought."
Track Listing: Every Step; Tut Muffin; Marin; Fish Lake; Blinks; Eternal Flame; Red Keys; Indecision; Wednesday; Loaded; Afterthought.
Personnel: Jeremy Udden: soprano and alto saxophone; Nathan Blehar: tenor saxophone; Ben Monder, Tim Miller: guitar; Leo Genovese: Fender Rhodes; John Lockwood or Garth Stevenson: bass; Matt Wilson or Ziv Ravitz: drums.
Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent
Style: Modern Jazz