Bouncing With Mr. A. T.
Tonal metamorphosis is a sure sign of the successful aging process of the good jazz player. If you've been around a minute you might recall Steve Grossman breaking into this music as a raw rookie with Miles Davis' late '60s-early '70s electronic melange. At that time he was quaffing feverishly from the cup of John Coltrane, on both tenor and soprano sax.
Maturity finds Grossman living across the big pond for artistic sustenance. It has also found his sound evolving decidedly from Trane to more of a Rollins-esque sound, broad, brawny, muscular-however you want to dub the massing of that sound. Grossman's largely his own man now. For this latest chronicle he works in the limited harmonic safety net of the bass-drums-sax trio with the late, great Arthur Taylor (Mr. A.T.) and A.T.'s last bass player, Tyler Mitchell. The no frills program is jazz standards, with an emphasis on tried (not tired) and true tenor sax vehicles. A.T.'s wonderful drum solo neatly bridges the two parts of a medley of Grossman's "Extemporaneous" and Bird's "My Little Suede Shoes." "Soul Eyes," with its rhythm changes from ballad to mid to up-tempo and back is quite attractive and is perhaps the recording's finest evidence of the connection these musicians shared, if only for this disc.