CD review

Paul Nedzela – “Introducing Paul Nedzela”

Paul Nedzela – Introducing Paul Nedzela
(Outside In Music OIM 1915. CD review by Frank Griffith)

Baritone saxophonist Paul Nedzela‘s debut recording showcases his eloquent yet gritty playing.  There are nine original tunes plus a heartfelt reading of Kurt Weill’s My Ship. Born in NYC in 1984, Paul has played with and/or recorded with Chick Corea, Benny Golson, Paquito D’Rivera, Wayne Shorter, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and Branford Marsalis among many others. He earned a Masters Degree from Juilliard in 2008 having studied there with Scots baritone saxist, Joe Temperley. He took over Joe’s chair in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in 2013 and has toured with the orchestra worldwide since then.

Nedzela’s full, broad, yet razor-sharp sound combines the warmth of Gerry Mulligan with the fiery intensity of Pepper Adams and Ronnie Cuber. A wonderful fusion of qualities recognising such a wide range of the legacy of the horn. He is joined by fellow JLCO member, pianist Dan Nimmer, and the two emerge as younger talents with a mature sound. They explore post-1960s approaches while fully nodding to the past as well. Bassist David Wong and drummer Aaron Kimmel rise to the occasion with aplomb, sounding like they’re having a ball.

Of particular deight to this listener was Nedzela’s compostiion, Bernard’s Revenge, a minor romp echoing the chordal structure and and brimming spirit of Coltrane’s A Love Supreme period. Third Quarter feature’s Paul’s lyrical and somewhat melancholy soprano sax – a waltz that adds a fresh and welcome variety to the uptempo and driving tunes that populate the CD. Strange Bedfellows also scores with its loping tempo and a delightful sense of being carefree. It is based on the chords to Benny Golson’s Stablemates, successfully shedding new light on this timeless jazz classic.

Introducing Paul Nedzela makes a winning and promising debut offering from a leading force on an instrument that deserves much more exposure as a vital solo voice in jazz. Paul Nedzela is just the person to provide this, and it will be fascinating to witness what direction his next recording will take.

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