Virginia Mayhew Sextet – A Simple Thank You – Rema Recordings

by | May 16, 2008 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Virginia Mayhew Sextet – A Simple Thank You – Rema Recordings 6401CD, 65:05 ****:

(Virginia Mayhew, tenor and soprano sax; Harvie S., bass; Victor Jones, drums; Kenny Wessel, guitar; Noah Bless, trombone; Scott Harrell, trumpet and flugelhorn; Lisa Parrott, Alto and baritone sax with special guests, Ingrid Jensen, trumpet and Mayra Casales, percussion)

It is with special pleasure that we review Virginia Mayhew’s new CD, A Simple Thank You. In 2005 Virginia was diagnosed with breast cancer, therefore, for much of the last two years jazz took a back seat to regaining her health. She played some gigs around New York City during this period but did not get back into the studio until August, of 2007.

This time it was with a septet to record her fifth CD. Joining her regular rhythm section of guitarist, Kenny Wessel, bassist Harvie S, and drummer, Victor Jones, are saxist Lisa Parrott, Scott Harrell on trumpet, and Noah Bless on trombone. Special guests, frequent collaborator, Ingrid Jensen on trumpet and percussionist, Mayra  Casales, are featured on a few tracks.

Mayhew did all the arrangements, co-produced the session and composed six of the nine compositions. Just a Blues opens the CD, and as on all tracks on this set, at least three band members have solos. Here Lisa Parrott, and Virginia trade choruses on some straight- ahead blues. Kenny Wessell’s guitar is featured as well, backed by horn riffs. One for the Parking Fairy, is noted for a nice solo by trombonist Bless, on this salsa-driven tune.

Spring is Not Here is back from a 2005 Mayhew recording and Virginia’s soprano sax sweetly takes on the other horns. Monk’s Rhythm-A-Ning gets a calypso reading. The ensemble’s horns blend beautifully and give off an anthemic feeling on the CD’s title track. Apple Flambé burns, while Live Your Life, with its bossa nova beat and Scott Harrell’s warm solo help round out the varied offerings of A Simple Thank You. We owe Virginia the same sentiment for this fine CD, which greatly benefits from her band’s expansion.

Just a Blues, One for the Parking Fairy, Spring is Not Here, A Simple Thank You, Rhythm-A-Ning, Apple Flambe, I Thought You Loved Me, Live Your Life, Sandan Shuffle

– Jeff Krow

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