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Dave Nathan - All Music Guide

Review of Doug White's Esplanade

July, 2002

Juniper Records is run by the jazz musicians who record for it. Here, the label features the work of Doug White, both as a composer and a tenor sax player. White has been leading his groups since the 1970s, has worked with illustrious jazz singer Annie Ross, and has spent considerable time in overseas venues. On his maiden album for Juniper, he is joined by other members of the collective, including Greg Bandy, Neal Miner, Joe Strasser, and the swinging, melodic, clean guitar of Chris Bergson. The session is built around a play list dominated by White originals, a stage to parade White's prodigious technique on the tenor, a technique heard to excellent advantage on such cuts as "Bandyville." This track recalls the bop-tinged JATP sessions of the 1940s, where the blowing was hard and the ideas went down as easily as aged wine. In contrast to this buffeting performance, there's a sensitive rendering of the "Theme From Brahms 3rd Symphony," where Bergson once more makes an important contribution to achieving White's jazz commentary on this major classical work. Like most tenors who have preceded him and most who will follow, White punches that obligatory place on his tenor sax card marked "Body and Soul." Like Coleman Hawkins, he takes the opportunity to play creatively with the melody line, adding one more explication of this classic tune to the tenor sax library of "Body and Soul" recordings. Irrespective of what type of tune White is dealing with, his tenor has a unique, deep-bodied tone to it, recalling somewhat early Ben Webster before Webster adopted his highly breathy tone. This is a fine tenor sax album enhanced by contributions by top jazz musicians and is highly recommended.

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Larry Hollis - Cadence
There’s nothing old fashioned sounding on this platter packed with fresh ideas and skillful musicianship. more

Dave Nathan - All Music Guide
...his tenor has a unique, deep-bodied tone to it, recalling somewhat early Ben Webster. more