Picks and Pans Review: Things Unseen!
The challenge of soloing in jazz is to find one's own route through the unvarying chords of a song without losing the melody and meaning that mark the way like a trail of bread crumbs. A song as much traversed as the Jerome Kern/ Otto Harbach classic Yesterdays is especially challenging, which makes alto saxophonist Bob Mover's daring rendition such a good measure of his gifts. He stalks the melody at first, sneaking up on it until, with a sudden flourish, he seems to pounce and hold it up triumphantly for display. Then he explores the melody, cupping it with a throaty slur, poking it with oddly tongued single notes, caressing its key curves, spinning a mad web around it. In the process, Mover, 31, seems to extend the horn's two-and-a-half octave range. He makes the instrument sound not only taller but, through feats of phrasing, articulation and judicious overblowing, actually wider, especially at the top and bottom. On Jimmy Garrison's Blues he sounds open and roundly bell-like in the style of Sonny Rollins, who achieved the effect on tenor sax. His playing has some of the heft and bite of Jackie McLean and the intelligent architecture of Lee Konitz, both alto greats. Neither an avant-gardist nor exactly a mainstreamer, Mover is one of the most thoroughly accomplished and engaging saxophonists around. (Xanadu)