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

Lew Del Gatto: Katewalk

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

This wonderfully exuberant session is a reminder of the kind of music that used to set jazz clubs rockin’ back in the 1960s. Yes, there’s a cerebral dimension that’s smart, clever and hip. But when all is said and done, it’s the music’s sensuality, boppish swagger and bluesy hues that carry the day.

At the helm is the redoubtable Lew Del Gatto, the New York-based saxophonist who’s helped light up the Saturday Night Live band for over two decades. Here, he soars on tenor. Abetting with elan are Del Gatto pals Randy Brecker (trumpet), Steve Turre (trombone), Joe Cohn (guitar), Ron Feuer (organ, piano), Chip Jackson (bass) and Victor Lewis (drums).

Del Gatto’s “Ain’t Too Hip” best exemplifies the session’s success. With its street-savvy sashay, sinewy horn lines and scorching solos, it’s down and dirty, and also tres chic. With the spicy rhythm-a-nings of Feuer, Jackson and Lewis tossed into the pot, it’s cordon-bleu cooking. Other savory dishes include the loping quartet setting for “Long Divorce Blues” where Cohn’s stealthy guitar and Feuer’s earthy organ neatly frame the leader’s lamentations; the sublime balladry of the tenorman’s lush limning of “You Don’t Know What Love Is”; and Del Gatto’s apt reframing of the 1931 John Klenner standard, here, called “And Friends.”