Jazz CD Reviews

Don Braden – Gentle Storm – High Note

A return to the studio for Braden’s working quartet

Published on August 4, 2008

Don Braden – Gentle Storm – High Note
Don Braden – Gentle Storm – High Note HCD 7186, 58:14 ****:

(Don Braden – tenor sax, alto flute (tr. 9); George Colligan – piano; Joris Teepe – bass; Cecil Brooks III – drums)

Don Braden has been a prolific recording jazz musician since he left the employment of Betty Carter and Wynton Marsalis in the 1980s. After a live soul jazz organ trio recording in 2006, he returns to the recording studio here with his working quartet. He has used songs from both the Great American Songbook and more contemporary popular tunes  – Never Can Say Goodbye and Leon Russell’s warhorse, This Masquerade – as vehicles for his warm tenor tone. His backing band is fully in step with Braden and they bring a seamless mainstream quartet presentation that is pleasing to the ear. Recorded in 24-bit digital format by ace engineer Tom Tedesco at Tedesco’s studio in New Jersey, this CD has a warm pleasing tone with vinyl-like sonics.

On two tracks – The Hunter and My Foolish Heart – Braden performs in a duo setting with bassist Teepe – on flute on the latter. Braden takes on Lee Morgan’s Speed Ball and matches Lee for swagger and cocky confidence.

Ballads are a big feature of this CD and Braden acquits himself well on Gentle Storm. What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?, the bluesy Willow Weep for Me (with a great blues lines by pianist Colligan), the title track, and a gorgeous flute solo with spot on bass accompaniment by Teepe on My Foolish Heart, are all reasons to explore this new CD by Braden. His maturity as both a tenor stylist and bandleader are fully in evidence on Gentle Storm. Highly recommended!

TrackList: Secret Love, Gentle Storm, Never Can Say Goodbye, What are You doing the Rest of Your Life?, This Masquerade, The Hunter, Willow Weep for Me, Two of a Kind, My Foolish Heart, Speed Ball

– Jeff Krow

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