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Greg Piccolo: Homage

The beauty of jazz, and for the most part classical music or opera, is that you don’t really have to know what the intent of the music is. It can be enjoyed on the basis of the sound, the energy level, the infectiousness of the swing.

If there is a program, and you’re privy to it, you merely add another level of enjoyment. In the case of Homage, it is essential that you read the liner notes. What tenor saxophonist Greg Piccolo has done is pay his respects to those masters of his instrument he most ardently admired.

Don’t misconstrue: Piccolo neither recorded “covers” of his heroes’ hits, nor did he try to imitate their every nuance or timbre or licks. Instead, Piccolo invites us to share his love for his favorites: Illinois Jacquet, Ben Webster, Gene Ammons, Clifford Scott, Red Prysock, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Lester Young and Joe Houston.

In most cases, he has successfully captured an essence with the help of a most cooperative rhythm section, but that underscores the caveat that there is as much rhythm and blues and rock as there is straightahead jazz here. In fact, considering the brevity of the album and each track, and the suddenness of certain endings, the project ends up sounding like one of those rolling commercials for “your favorite tenor players from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s: a collection that cannot be bought in any store…”

Originally Published