Maddie Vogler: While We Have Time

Chicago-based saxophonist leads trumpet, piano, guitar, bass and drums on nine originals mixing modal and hard bop with some Cuban figures


The subtle but profound beauties of everyday life served as the muse for Maddie Vogler’s debut release. Across the nine tracks on While We Have Time, the young alto saxophonist grabs every chance to showcase her instrumental dexterity. She often welcomes her bandmates into the limelight too. It’s a generous album that celebrates Vogler’s Cuban roots and Chicago stomping ground.

Five friends from the Windy City joined the saxophonist in the studio. Tito Carrillo was one of Vogler’s teachers at university, and contributes his trumpet and flugelhorn. Matt Gold plays guitar and Jake Shapiro adds piano, with Samuel Peters on bass and Neil Hemphill on drums. Together, they breathe life into nine clever compositions from their first-time band leader.

Corridors starts out with a searching quality until a swing-ballad rhythm points the way forward. The melody has a Greensleeves-ish feeling, with horns playing overlapping patterns. The album’s title track follows a similar path, with teacher and student trading solos until they coalesce.

The shortest track, Hymn For August, features the saxophone with only a piano for company. It carries a sense of endings and beginnings, while highlighting Vogler’s talent for gently unfurling compositions. Check Engine Light is one of several tunes on the album that is constructed around a fanfaring riff from saxophone and trumpet, with a hefty dose of Cuban tonalities and rhythms.

Maddie Vogler’s bright tone and fleet-fingered phrasing grab the listener by the ears – at time threatening to lift them out of their armchair. While We Have Time is an impressive debut with richness and variety throughout. It is sometimes subtle and occasionally beautiful. It will be intriguing to follow Vogler’s next steps.

The Need To Be; Corridors; Ropa Vieja; Industrielle; While We Have Time; Hymn For August; Between Wakefulness And Sleep; Sunday Colors Check Engine Light (50.33)
Tito Carrillo (t, flh); Vogler (as); Jake Shapiro (p); Matt Gold (g); Samuel Peters (b); Neil Hemphill (d). Chicago, USA, 2023.
Origin Records 82880