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Grant Stewart: In the Still of the Night

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The field of saxophonists is crowded today, which is undoubtedly why we aren’t better acquainted with Grant Stewart, a 35-year-old Canadian who favors the kind of old-school hard bop that made household names of Joe Henderson and Dexter Gordon. Though he’s young, Stewart already has several fine discs under his belt, having made his debut with no less than Brad Mehldau as one of his sidemen. But now Stewart has gone and done it-he’s released a perfect album of classic-style jazz.

In the Still of the Night evokes the best Blue Note records of the 1950s and ’60s. Sure, there’s a lot of head-solo-solo-solo-head format here, but Stewart’s adherence to convention should not be confused with lack of originality-check out, for instance, the hair-on-the-neck-raising two-bar phrase he blows just as he starts his solo on “If Ever I Would Leave You.”

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