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Walt Weiskopf: Fountain of Youth (Posi-Tone)

Review of the new bop album from the veteran tenor saxophonist

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Cover of Walt Weiskopf album Fountain of Youth
Walt Weiskopf album Fountain of Youth

While it contains some ambitious original compositions, such as the odd-form and mixed-meter “Petal,” Fountain of Youth from tenor saxophonist Walt Weiskopf is still more or less a blowing session. Not in any pejorative sense—it sounds like he and some cohorts (vibraphonist Behn Gillece, pianist Peter Zak, bassist Mike Karn and drummer Steve Fidyk) got together with no further agenda than to have fun and play some bop.

How else to interpret the comfortable-as-an-old-shoe take on “Close Enough for Love”? Weiskopf is so at home in the Johnny Mercer song he might be playing it while reclining in a Barcalounger. Ironically, he’s a little more on edge for the ballad “How Are Things in Glocca Morra,” but here it’s Zak who sounds thoroughly relaxed, even in his double- and triple-time runs. Nobody gets too much at ease on Weiskopf’s uptempo swingers “Loose Lips” and “Heads in the Clouds”; instead, they jam. The latter features perhaps the record’s best solo, with Weiskopf’s playing being decidedly more angular than the tune itself, to alluring results.

There’s little solo space for the rhythm section; Karn and Fidyk take one each. Gillece has more, but he too feels underused: The beautiful lines he unfurls on “Laura” and his own “Double Date” would serve well on “Glocca Morra” and “Hot Dog Days,” on which he sits out. But these are minor complaints about a thoroughly enjoyable session by one of the music’s most reliable straight-ahead voices.

Preview, buy or download songs from the album Fountain of Youth by Walt Weiskopf on iTunes.

Originally Published