April 2001

Jaz Sawyer/Irvin Mayfield
20/20: Live at the Blue Note
Half Note Records

On their second CD for Half Note, 20/20, Crescent City trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and Bay Area percussionist Jaz Sawyer achieve musical perfection leading an assemblage of young lions. Showing maturity and insight, they deliver a ravishing March 1999 set with pianist Jacky Terrasson and bassist Rodney Whitaker. The crew visits jazz history in Buddy Bolden style, making a delicious bluesy treat of Clifford Brown's swinger "Sandu." They nod to Miles Davis with a bopping "Four," honor Dizzy Gillespie with stimulating takes on "Night in Tunisia" and "Con Alma," warmly unfold the romantic standard "Stella by Starlight" and inject time-shifting hipness into Duke Jordan's "Jordu." Andrew Cyrille's percussive treat "Shell" allows for their freest expressions. On "Sticks & Hats," Sawyer offers a refined solo display of ticking-sticks artistry on the high hats. Versatility, ingenuity and maximum musicianship make this a first-class performance. You'll wish you'd been there.

Originally published in April 2001
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