March 1999

Steve Grossman Quartet
Hold the Line
DIW

This 1984 New York session finds tenor saxophonist Grossman in full voice, causing us once more to wonder how it was he got lost in the shuffle following his breakout years with Miles Davis. Roughly a decade later, he has become a more broad-based player, expanding the rich harmonic and rhythmic texture inherited from Coltrane with a sure and winning sense of melody closer in spirit to Sonny Rollins. Hear, for example, his take on Cannonball Adderley's "Wabash," on which he moves smoothly between lightly flowing bop and harder-edged lines that suggest different ways to take the tune—but keeps all this under rein, building steadily to a wonderful peak that introduces the piano solo from Hugh Lawson. His "Night in Tunisia," by contrast, cuts more of a Traneish line. Grossman and Lawson are joined by Juni Booth on bass and Masahiro Yoshida on drums, both of whom turn in solid performances.

Originally published in March 1999
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