Marty Nau Group: Mood Ebony

D.C.-based alto saxophonist Marty Nau focuses strictly on the clarinet on his latest, Mood Ebony. The wild opener, Benny Goodman’s “Slipped Disc,” is a sort of sonic manifesto for the licorice stick, with Nau overdubbing several clarinet parts at the exhilarating crescendo. “A Night in Tunisia” also features some inspired multitracking: On top of the driving bassline from Raymond Scott’s “Powerhouse,” played by Scott Silbert on bass clarinet, Nau superimposes a virtual choir of clarinets interpreting Dizzy’s tune. The leader dips into a sublime old-school bag on the politely swinging ’30s chestnut “As Long as I Live,” featuring vibraphonist Chuck Redd, and delivers three numbers by his mentor Phil Woods-“Smoke Dreams,” “Doctor Tee” and “Ballad for Hank.” Nau’s own compositions include “Bossa for Eddie” (for another mentor, Eddie Daniels) and the romping “Blues for Benny” (for the King of Swing).