Oxman’s quartet has dedicated this CD to Joey Pearlman, a young bassist who sadly died in his late teens. The final track here, Coltrane’s John Paul Jones, is from a 2014 session featuring the tenor man with just Joey and his brother Stevie on drums. It is a strong trio performance spotlighting in a lengthy solo just how accomplished young Joey was and is certainly one of the best tracks on this release.
The rest of the programme is by Oxman’s current quartet and shows him to be a melodic tenor soloist in the Lester Young / Scott Hamilton tradition. Oxman plays with spirit on 13 selections, showing a special affinity with ballads such as Blame It On My Youth and In The Wee Small Hours Of The morning.
Oxman’s compositions are right in the centre of the modern mainstream style and for the most part are attractive lines for improvising. The Cajun Jazz Messengers is a medium-tempo romp dedicated to his close friends in France who provided accommodation during a 2019 tour of that country. Christine is a melodic line written for another French pal. Debussy is based on a whole-tone scale, introduced on piano and then played by the quartet.
This 76-minute programme has a good balance of originals and standards, well played by Oxman, pianist Jenkins and the bass and drum team. Good, middle-of-the-road jazz with few surprises but steady performances all round.
(1) The Cajun Jazz Messengers; Lady Vera; Joshua Fought The Battle Against Trump And Co; Waltz For Joey; Clark’s Spark; Blame It On My Youth; Christine; In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning; This One’s For Joey; Garden Song; Khalid; Debussy (2) John Paul Jones (75.57)
(1) Oxman (ts); Jeff Jenkins (p); Mark Simon, (b); Todd Reid. (d). Denver, 14 May 2021.
(2) Oxman (ts); Joey Pearlman (b); Stevie Pearlman (d). Denver, 16 June 2014.