Dave Glasser: Begin Again

Gigi Gryce’s “Socail Call” is one of 14 nicely varied tracks on altoist Dave Glasser’s Begin Again (Chiaroscuro). He also includes compositions by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Lester Young as well as three by himself, one by pianist Tardo Hammer and three from the Great American Songbook. As might be assumed from his repertoire, Glasser can play some bebop. He flies over his alto with a surefooted agility rarely demonstrated by even the most proficient saxophonists. Plus, he knows the idiom inside out. Accordingly, his playing on Parker’s medium groove “Steeplechase” and on the uptempo “In the Still of the Night,” to name but two, are superb examples of bebop alto. But what really makes Glasser a rarity is his ability to shift gears, as he does on the title tune and elsewhere, and play with the kind of beautiful tone and mannerisms that evoke the great swing-era star Johnny Hodges. Pianist Hammer offers up some fine bop piano himself and, with bassist Lee Hudson and drummer Tony Jefferson, supplies solid support for the leader.