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

Joe Temperley: Double Duke

Scanning the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra personnel one spots a distinguished looking gray hair in the baritone sax chair amidst the flowering jazz youth. Wisdom and experience are especially welcome in such a key chair in any orchestra, and in this case it is Joe Temperley who lends a certain grace to the LCJO’s harmonies. This is apropos given the LCJO’s long-standing Ellington proclivities, for it was Temperley himself who assumed the great Harry Carney’s chair when the giant of the bari sax passed on to ancestry in 1974. Wisdom steeped in Ellingtonia is a wonderful thing, as Wynton Marsalis has certainly discovered in Temperley’s case.

Double, even triple Duke are appropriate banners for this disc as Temperley is joined by LCJO regulars bassist Rodney Whitaker, drummer Herlin Riley, trombonist Wycliff Gordon, and former band pianist Eric Reed. Where the pleasure is doubled and even tripled is in the case of a 9-hit program dominated by four pieces of Ellingtonia, including the double entendre title track based on “Rubber Bottom” and “Cottontail,” as well as the playing of certain members, from Temperley’s baritone and soprano saxophones, and bass clarinet, to Wycliffe Gordon recalling the great Ellington brass mute and growl tradition. Nowhere is Gordon’s skill more evident than on the title track, where he engages a trombone technique that simultaneously growls and wheezes. Temperley delivers lots of love, especially on his gorgeous bass clarinet essay on “Creole Love Call.”

Originally Published