Serge Chaloff: Blue Serge
One of only four available CD's by the unjustly overlooked Serge Chaloff, Blue Serge is a gorgeous, shimmering masterpiece that leaves one wondering why the baritone sax wasn't used much more often. Chaloff's complete mastery of the instrument combines a wide range with precisely executed bop lines and tender and effusive renderings of ballads. His effective use of dynamics and vibrato pierce the hearts of tunes like "I've Got the World on a String" and "Stairway to the Stars." Although the sidemen present had little to no experience playing with Chaloff, a strong rapport among the four is immediately established. Sonny Clark, who sounds completely at home in this relaxed setting, shines as usual, and Philly Joe Jones makes it clear why Miles Davis gave him a steady employment. Chaloff's decision to have the lights turned low while recording this session can be sensed throughout, as many of the tracks exude a distinctly after-hours glow. Ron McMaster has done an excellent job with the remastering, and my advice would be to spring before Blue Serge becomes discontinued like much of the Blue Note catalogue. This is essential music.
Track Listing: 1. A Handful of Stars; 2. The Goof and I; 3. Thanks for the Memory; 4. All the Things You Are; 5. I've Got the World on a String; 6. Susie's Blues; 7. Stairway to the Stars; 8. How About You?.
Personnel: SERGE CHALOFF, baritone saxophone; SONNY CLARK, piano; LEROY VINNEGAR, bass; PHILLY JOE JONES, drums.