Author: Young, Herb
Date published: December 1, 2011
Martin Sasse Trio with Charlie Mariano
Charlie Mariano (as) Martin Sasse (pno) Henning Gailing (bs) Hendrik Smuck (dms) Recorded live at Kinodrom, Bocholt, Germany on March 13, 2003 (last two tunes) and April 16, 2006
Estate / Yours Is My Heart Alone / Goodbye Pork Pie Hat / My Funny Valentine / Doxy / I Thought About You / Stella By Starlight / Randy / My Foolish Heart / Good Times TT: 65:20
This is a very successful recording made by a veteran American sax player of 83 years in 2006 and a trio of much younger but very talented and mature Germans. This is a live recording on both sessions at the same location. Charlie Mariano's tone is a bit more strident, thin and darker than in former years but he still swings hard. He still has great improvisational skills. This ability to improvise and take chances works for the three trio players as well. The Martin Sasse Trio has been reviewed in these pages back in our March, 2010 issue with the same personnel. Martin Sasse and his men work so well with Mariano and apparently they have worked together in the past.
The ten tunes that make up this disc are, in most cases, well known. Half of them started life as pop tunes. "Doxy" comes from Sonny Rollins, "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" from Charles Mingus and the opening tune from Bruno Martino. Charlie Mariano is responsible for "Randy" and "Good Times". Both of these have a strong down home flavor and are slow to medium blues. Solo space is shared by the alto sax and piano. "Estate" is a good case of building stress and then relief.
Sasse uses a page out of Ravel when he wrote "Bolero" by using repeat notes again and again just building the tension before the release comes from Mariano. "Yours Is My Heart Alone" is very boppish in nature. It swings with some nice drum breaks. The drummer doesn't get featured very much on this disc but his presence is felt and heard throughout with tasteful work. The Mingus opus finds a slow sixteen bars blues rendition with the bass having a fine solo as well as sax and piano. "My Funny Valentine" is a ballad throughout with solos by sax and piano only. "Doxy" is a medium tempo reading and one of my favorite jazz tunes with everyone getting a piece of the action. A great rendition.
"I Thought About You" is again a slow ballad, fine brush work plus soulful solos from sax and piano. Next in order is "Stella By Starlight" and this is a medium tempo and when we get to the piano part, he becomes very funky. It fits. "My Foolish Heart" is again a slow blues and beside the fine sax and piano work we have another well thought out and executed bass solo.
This review began stating this was a very successful effort. It bears repeating here. The sound quality is excellent which seems to be a characteristic of Nagel Heyer. The CD is dedicated to the memory of Charlie Mariano who passed on June 16, 2009. It is a great tribute.