You can’t do jazz without a sax, and anytime you have a sax even punk sounds like jazz. Adam Schroeder works the Bass sax, it’s a monster instrument that sounds like it ought to be laying down rhythm and nothing more, but here he makes it soar, at least up into the mid ranges. While there’s plenty of syncopation and herds of small note running over hills like sheep on a summer day, this is a jazz vibe that has enough melody to appeal to those of us who haven’t the ear for that old school modernism.
We open with “Hello Bright Sunflower”, here Schroeder’s clearly the voice you notice first, but there’s time for everyone to have a turn in the spotlight. Back on drums is an amazing Jeff Hamilton; his solos are like a polite Keith Moon, full of 64th notes and vinegar. A bit later we hear an old Harry Baris number: “Wrap Your Troubles in a Dream.” Schroeder makes it stroll down the avenue and while Hamilton’s drums sound sedate and dressed for a Sunday walk there’s the faithful John Clayton picking out some clever and unexpected bass lines. I’m impressed, these guys aren’t just tight, they’re quite alright. Not quite a dozen tracks here, but they range from the danceable “South Side Samba” to the lengthy “Patient Endurance, Steady Hope” and all are fine showcases for this unusual instrument. That basement sax sure sounds grand in the hands of this band.