Jim Snidero: Strings

The saxophonist's 1981 session, with Renee Rosnes and Billy Drummond, was one of jazz's more successful dalliances with strings


Saxophonist Jim Snidero has been releasing albums on the Savant label since 2007, so it is only fitting the re-release of Strings should appear under that imprint. It makes a reappearance 20 years after the tragic events of 9/11, a date when the original session was due to commence. The leader has been a top-class operator for many years now and probably deserves greater recognition than he has received – if only on the basis of his sheer consistency.

Historically, there are those who have always felt strings have no place in jazz, despite a number of successful collaborations over the decades from such musicians as Stan Getz and Clifford Brown – the jury being permanently out when it comes to Charlie Parker.

Snidero’s attempt to weld soloist, rhythm section and strings together should be viewed as one of the more successful attempts at amalgamation, offering some interesting charts and compositions; the strings never cloying, offering a suitable cushion for the quartet or supplying a suitable interpolation.

The leader is in buoyant form on a programme consisting of mainly ballads and mid-tempo options, in turn breezy, lively and articulate. His alto is predominant but the flute we hear circa On The Bank indicates his ability on an alternative instrument. When it comes to the ballads, his sympathy for the genre shines through as he warmly navigates his own Forever Gone or It’s The Talk Of The Town.

Pianist Rosnes gets a little solo space, we are treated to a cello/violin duet on Ventura and Feldman’s individual spot on Torrent is appropriately aggressive. But the saxophonist is clearly in charge on his own date.

(1) Slipping Away; River Suite, Pt. 1: Dawn; River Suite, Pt. 2: (2) On The Bank; (2) River Suite, Pt. 3: Torrent; Theme For Ernie; Forever Gone; Ventura; It’s The Talk Of The Town (55.48)

(1) Jim Snidero (as); Renee Rosnes (p); Paul Gill (b); Billy Drummond (d); Laura Seaton (cond); Mark Feldman, Joyce Hamman, Cenovia Cummings, Paul Woodiel, Sue Lorentsen (vn); Ralph Farris, Kenji Bunch (vla); Thomas Ulrich, Mary Wooten (clo); David Fink (b). New York, 25 October & 13 November 2001. (2) as (1) but Snidero (f).
Savant SCD 2199