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Walt Weiskopf Septet: Sleepless Nights

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Although he’s a monster tenor saxophonist as well as a prolific composer and accomplished arranger, Walt Weiskopf remains largely overlooked and criminally underappreciated. You won’t find his name in any of the current jazz encyclopedias or music guides, even though he’s had significant sideman stints with Buddy Rich’s big band, Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra, and Frank Sinatra’s orchestra as well as half a dozen excellent CDs as a leader to his credit. The general public may not know his name, but musicians on the scene certainly respect his talent.

On his fourth Criss Cross release, Weiskopf flaunts the same driving, Trane-inspired intensity, fluidity, and lyricism that has marked his tenor playing for two decades. But Sleepless Nights is far more than a showcase for his chops. His broad harmonic palette, along with his intricate, intelligent, and well balanced writing that reflects a passion for the craft, is what distinguishes Weiskopf from hordes of other cats who can blow.

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