Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Dick Oatts Quintet: South Paw

I dig Dick Oatts’ sound on alto saxophone, his articulation-lots of notes tongued, but different from Art Pepper’s use of this technique-and the harmonic and rhythmic challenges he sets up in his compositions and conquers in his performances. He’s an uncompromising jazz musician, one who possesses monster chops without trumpeting them.

Longtime lead alto man with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Oatts comes from the Paul Desmond-Lee Konitz school of saxophone playing. But a sweet sound and a cerebral approach to improvising comprise only part of his style. There’s also a trim muscularity in his tone and lines. And the lines can be quite angular and oblique at times. I don’t hear any other alto man playing with all these qualities these days.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published