Terje Lie is a Norwegian-born sax man who now lives in Southern California, natch. His locale enabled him to grab many top session players for his latest, including keyboardist David Garfield, bassist Ernest Tibbs and drummer Jeff Olson. Lie describes himself as a musician with a New York sensibility but with a proclivity for L.A. weather and, strangely enough, you get that feeling from the aptly named Traveler. From the opening notes on “Pier Avenue,” Lie lets us know that we’re in for serious jazz licks framed by funky and groovy contemporary rhythms.
Lie plays all saxes, of course, but seems most comfortable on the tenor, where his sound is obviously influenced by Wayne Shorter. “MDD III,” which Lie wrote shortly after the death of Miles Davis, is the best example of Lie’s skills on the soprano. iTunes tip: That tune and “Silver Streaks” have much to offer mainstream fans, while “Runnin’ Outta Time” and “You” would tempt contemporary fans, especially those with an ear for David Sanborn. Overall, an impressive CD that could have done without the two vocals tracks. Lie’s voice is OK but pitchy; drawing on an L.A. session vocalist would have made more sense.