April 2000

Lennie Niehaus Quintet + One
Seems Like Old Times
Fresh Sound Records

No wonder jazz-loving Clint Eastwood chooses Lennie Niehaus to score his major films. Small wonder Doug Ramsey's accompanying insightful essay focuses on the ESP among Niehaus and his fellow sax fiends, Bill Perkins and Jack Nimitz, all three alumni of Kenton's reed section. These swinging psychic friends still anticipate each other's ideas, phrasing, breathing, even vibratos. Niehaus' charts are harmonically daring and spiced with ingenious voicings and rhythmic playfulness. Sometimes the rhythm cuts out, leaving the reeds conversing contrapuntally without a net. Talk about conversation: the duolog between Perk's bass clarinet and Niehaus' tenor on "The Wind" is pure foreplay.

Originally published in April 2000
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