Jodie Christian - Front Line (Music CD)

Release Date: 15 April 2010
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If a city has any type of jazz scene, it has some improvisers who enjoy local hero status -- people who are highly regarded locally but not well-known elsewhere. Local jazz heroes can be found in places that range from Copenhagen to Seattle to Rio de Janeiro; they can be tenor saxophonists like Philadelphia's Bootsie Barnes, singers like Boston's Paul Broadnax, or pianists like Chicago's Jodie Christian. If someone is unfamiliar with Christian, it doesn't necessarily mean that he/she doesn't know jazz -- but it does indicate that he/she hasn't spent much time checking out Chicago's jazz scene. Thankfully, the Chicago-based Delmark Records gave Christian a chance to do some recording in the 1990s, and 1996's Front Line was his third Delmark album. Produced by label owner Bob Koester, this CD finds the artist leading a hard-swinging group of Chicagoans that includes Norris Turney on alto sax, Eddie Johnson on tenor sax, John Whitfield on bass, and Ernie Adams or Gerryck King on drums. Francine Griffin, a likable but obscure singer, joins the sextet on Duke Ellington's "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." But all of the other material is instrumental, and that includes a few Christian originals as well as solid performances of Wayne Shorter's "Lester Left Town" and Miles Davis' "All Blues." Turney was heavily influenced by Johnny Hodges and spent some time as lead alto sax in the Ellington big band, which explains why standards from the Ellington/Strayhorn songbook are a high priority. In addition to "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," Christian puts his spin on "Mood Indigo," "Chelsea Bridge," and "In a Mellow Tone." Outside of the Windy City, Christian isn't nearly as well known as he deserves to be, but that doesn't make Front Line any less appealing. ~ Alex Henderson
Release Date: 15 April 2010

1. In A Mellow Tone
2. Willow Weep For Me
3. Lester Left Town
4. Front Line
5. Don't Get Round Much Anymore
6. Chelsea Bridge
7. Mood Indigo
8. All Blues
9. Faith
10. Splanky

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Catalogue No: DE490