Native Language Music
Gerry Niewood, who first gained attention in the late '60s with Chuck Mangione's band, spent the intervening years honing his skills as a woodwinds specialist and improviser. On Facets (Native Language), he utilizes alto, tenor and baritone saxophones as well as flute and alto flute. On each he demonstrates a polished tone and technique well suited to the music at hand. In this case, that music mostly reflects his love for the American popular song-"Ruby," "I Hear a Rhapsody," "Cheek to Cheek," "I Concentrate on You," "Just One of Those Things," "The Song Is You" and Ellington's "All Too Soon." Also included are the Jobim bossa "Zingaro," Rollins' "Doxy" and Niewood's own "Dedication (To Diz)." Niewood's bop orientation is evident, but he always shows a reverence for the tunes themselves, especially in his tender treatment of the ballads. He is joined by the exceptional acoustic/electric guitarist Gene Bertoncini and by Phil Woods sidemen Bill Goodwin and Steve Gilmore on drums and bass, respectively. Niewood's son Adam joins them on two tracks, where he proves to be a worthy tenor man in his own right.