One of the many rewards in reviewing CDs is making new
discoveries, and in this case, that discovery is baritone sax player Tony
Lustig. Lustig’s debut album, Taking Flight, is an energetic and
very musical offering, full of promise for the young player that has a
wonderful sound and a command of the horn that will astonish. The players on
the CD include: Mike Dease (trombone), Samora Pinderhughes (piano), Ben
Williams (bass), and Ulysses Owens (drums).
All eight tracks are composed by Lustig. The CD starts with
a medium tempo swinger titled “Change is Comin,” which sets a nice tone for the
rest of the project. “Fraytown,” a mid-tempo gospel-tinged six eight number nicely
showcases Williams’ interactive basslines and Pinderhughes ivory work, with
Lustig delivering and excellent heart-felt solo. Taking Flight is very
much an entire-group effort, and the playing reflects that and no better than
on the track “Prometheus.” This up-tempo selection is given an outstanding rhythmic
bed by Owens and a full foundation by Williams.Pinderhughes comping is supportive and pushes Lustig and Dease in all
the right places.Lustig’s solo is a
technical workout, but he never loses his melodic flow and his deep sense of
time.Dease never, never ceases to amaze
and although Lustig is new to my ears, I am very familiar with Dease’s playing,
and this is a fine example of his fiery passion on the bone.The first ballad on the CD is “For Wayne,” a
very beautiful melody indeed, and Lustig’s upper register work is gorgeous. The
title track is a straight-eight selection that is energetic and uplifting,
Lustig and Owens really converse on this selection. “Serving it Up” finds the
group on their good foot with a funky/gospel inspired selection that will bring
to mind the classic, “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.” The track “On the Wings of Icarus” finds
the musicians taking their time and allowing each phrase to really speak and
breath. We feel it too! The project ends with the medium-up blues swinger, “Burnin’
Grease” and that is what everyone does on this selection.Amazing feel and excellent overall sound, the
group truly connects.
This may be a debut offering, but it shows no signs of the “green”
factor, each player stands alone in their own right as a seasoned asset, but
together they elevate this project to a memorable offering, one that surely
should be a valued space in any jazz collection.Tony Lustig, remember this name – I see great
things on his horizon. Searing lines, a
robust sound, and rhythm to spare. These are the signs of greatness and Lustig
is off to a shining start.
Players: Tony Lustig – bari sax, bass clarinet; Mike Dease – trombone; Samora
Pinderhughes – piano; Ben Williams – bass; Ulysses Owens – drums.
Tracks: Change is Comin’ 5:49; Fraytown 8:47; Prometheus 8:33; For
Wayne 5:56; Taking Flight 6:22; Serving it Up 6:18; On the Wings of Icarus 9:46;
Burnin’ Grease 4:31.