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Review: Stay Cool – JazzTimes

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Brent Jensen / David Sills Quartet: Stay Cool

By David Franklin

Although many younger players look to the hard-bop of the ’50s and ’60s for inspiration, it’s much less common to find youthful players who reflect the values of the erstwhile “cool school.” But altoist Brent Jensen and tenorist David Sills, two saxophonists inspired by the likes of Paul Desmond, Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh, are among the few. In the context of a pianoless quartet, their Stay Cool (Origin) evokes the spirit of Lester Young and his descendants, especially the Gerry Mulligan and Lennie Tristano groups, in both arrangements and general improvisational approach. Indeed, their “Two for Prez” is based on a Young solo, while “I’ll Remember April” features a riff Mulligan once employed on the tune. “317 E. 32nd Street” is a Tristano classic and “Lover Man” a longtime favorite of Konitz’s. But influences aside, these two guys can really play. Both have the smooth tones derived from Young, and Jensen’s closely approximates Desmond’s with a touch of Konitz thrown in. And both have fabulous technical facility. Plus, they swing, they demonstrate acute harmonic ears and they know how to craft a melody.