Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Listening to the blustery baritone sax lines on the opening track from his auspicious debut as a leader, one might get the idea that Eric Hargett is mining the same soul jazz/hard bop territory that bari ace Ronnie Cuber established with the George Benson Quartet on 1966's Cookbook. That potent Cuberesque quality on the title track is only the beginning of this musical journey showcasing the rising star saxophonist in the company of drummer and longtime colleague /Whaling City Sound label-mate Gerry Gibbs and Hammond B-3 organ killer Joey DeFrancesco. Recorded in just one day in Hargett's home base of Los Angeles, Steppin' Up reveals a saxophonist who is comfortable in a myriad of settings, from '70s styled funk to burning bebop, real-deal blues and lyrical ballads. There's even a touch of drum 'n' bass thrown into the mix on this ambitious outing. And savvy veterans Gibbs and DeFrancesco are flexible enough to provide just the right feel in every setting.
Personnel: Eric Hargett (tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, Fender Rhodes piano); Gerry Gibbs (drums); Joey DeFrancesco (piano, Hammond b-3 organ).
Liner Note Authors: Eric Hargett; Bill Milkowski.
Recording information: Bell Sound Studios, Hollywood, CA (12/18/2011).
Photographer: Jason Miyashiro.