Walt Weiskopf – Walt Weiskopf European Quartet
(Orenda Records 0054. CD Review by Frank Griffith)
Augusta-born saxophonist and composer Walt Weiskopf‘s latest CD was recorded at the close of a two-week tour in January 2016 involving dates in Denmark, Germany and Norway. The confluence and camaraderie between three of Continental Europe’s most explosive and talented rhythm section players with the accomplished Weiskopf result in an electrical storm like no other.
The seven tracks of the CD are a real meeting of minds between leader Weiskopf and pianist Carl Winther, bassist Daniel Franck, and drummer Anders Mogensen. The first-class rhythm section goads and prods Weiskopf throughout, pushing his playing to fervent heights and crests of power and emotion. No mean soloists themselves, the rhythm players establish their world-class credentials of excellence. Pianist Winther weds a modern post-bop vocabulary with a Tyneresque rhythmic drive and touch, which provides a compelling match for Weiskopf.
The leader’s intense, unwavering yet pristine tonal quality reveals a serious and dogged commitment to his message and art. This is reinforced by his compositions (Gates of Madrid and See The Pyramid) which exploit melodies that linger with a plaintive cry of longing, sending the listener to an emotional zone that is both distinctive and appealing.
The quartet’s readings of Mal Waldron’s Soul Eyes and Cedar Walton’s Bolivia achieve the ideal combination of respectfully honouring these classics while also giving them a treatment that stands out for its uniqueness.
A brilliant testimonial to the past and future of the music.