- Free Beauty
- Who We've Known
- Blue in Green
Jim Snidero Quintet
Jim Snidero (Composer, Alto Saxophone); Alex Sipiagin (Trumpet); Andy LaVerne (Composer, Piano); Ugonna Okegwo (Bass); Rudy Royston (Drums)
MD66 is a departure. It is Snidero with the volume cranked to 11. –Editors pick, Jazz Times
Over the course of a career lasting more than 35 years, Jim Snidero has established his reputation as a leader both on the bandstand and as an influential author of jazz education books. A pioneer in music education technology, with his venture The Jazz Conception Company (TJCC), the release of MD66 only affirms the alto saxophonist’s role as an important and evolving jazz artist.
MD66 was released on August 26 on the Savant label, marking Snidero’s 20th album as a leader and sixth release for Savant. The album celebrates 50 years since the heyday of the second great Miles Davis Quintet (with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Tony Williams). Snidero remarks on how Davis was “a critical beacon for being a great leader. He had a gift for hiring musicians who best fit his evolving vision, often inspiring them to create innovative music.”
Consisting primarily of Snidero’s original compositions, along with a piece by pianist Andy Laverne and Davis’ immortal “Blue in Green,” the music on MD66 came about as a result of Snidero’s careful attention to the musical interplay between the members of Davis’ second great quintet. “That band is at the very top of the ladder of any kind of music that I’ve ever listened to,” says Snidero. Assembling his own stellar band consisting of trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, pianist Andy Laverne, bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Rudy Royston, Snidero sought to explore his own music while conveying the same sense of intimacy demonstrated by Davis’ second quintet.
While the musicians on Snidero’s record are no strangers to each other, MD66 marks the first time they have all collaborated as a unit. Their performance on the album benefited immeasurably by the opportunity for live performance prior to recording. “If a band hasn’t had enough time to get comfortable with the way they play together, the music can come off a bit too careful.” But Snidero notes that “nothing on this record sounds like that.”
MD66 finds Snidero continuing to explore new territory, including “Free Beauty,” his first venture into freely improvised music. Snidero considers his solo on “Recursion,” which incorporates late-period John Coltrane concepts in a personal way, to be his best to date. The solo is an exceptional balance of contours, range, consonance and dissonance, and sounds deeply inspired and authentic.