Personnel: Bennie Wallace (tenor saxophone); Jerry Hahn (guitar); Bill Huntington (bass); Alvin Queen (drums).
Recorded at Capitol Records, Studio B, Hollywood, California in January 1993. Includes liner notes by David Franklin.
Bennie Wallace's unique approach to the tenor sax makes him one of the easiest players to identify, with a constantly probing attack from many different angles, mixing in a bit of dissonance but never losing sight of the melody. This 1993 studio session for Enja featured his working group at the time, including guitarist Jerry Hahn, bassist Bill Huntington and drummer Alvin Queen. His take of "The Best Things in Life are Free" finds him opening alone, then gradually expanding his full bodied tenor as the rhythm section joins in for this old chestnut. "It's the Talk of the Town" sticks closer to the original melody, with some lush accompaniment by Hahn. His "Thangs," an imaginative reworking of the chord changes to "All the Things You Are," showcases Huntington. The sassy New Orleans flavored strut "Picayune" and the exquisite ballad "If I Lose You" are two additional examples of Wallace's immense gifts as a composer. No longer available outside of Europe, this rewarding CD is highly recommended. ~ Ken Dryden