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July/August 2006

Christian Winther
The Only Plan
SteepleChase

Winther emigrated from his native Denmark, studied jazz at the University of New Orleans and now resides in the Crescent City. This album reflects his adoption of and adaptation to the local musical culture. It marks his rise as another promising tenor saxophonist among the ranks of well-schooled young jazz musicians.

The feeling of this album is bright and sunny. (It was recorded before Hurricane Katrina.) Rhythms indigenous to New Orleans abound, as pianist Richard Doron Johnson, bassist Neal Caine and drummer Ali Jackson Jr. dish out the infectious grooves. The ensemble sound of the horns (Winther and trumpeter Marcus Printup) recall the Blue Note era. You might call this a hard-bop-meets-New Orleans scene.

Winther originals dominate the program, beginning with the second-line-tinged “New York Strut.” His jaunty, stride-piano-introduced “There It Is” and Monkish “High Ground” are also worthy of note. Winther’s tenor is warm and fluid, with traces of Eric Alexander and perhaps the late New Orleans tenorman Red Tyler. On “High Ground,” he hints at Charlie Rouse. Printup, who increasingly impresses with each new album he appears on, is in admirable form, with boldness and exuberance that suggest a young Freddie Hubbard.

Originally published in July/August 2006
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