Steve Slagle – ALTO MANHATTAN: I’ve actually reviewed a lot of Steve’s superb sax and flute work before, on several albums he did with Dave Stryker (just search for “The Stryker Slagle Band, and you’ll find them). This is the first time (I believe) that I’ve heard him as a leader – and he SMOKES! Six of the nine cookin’ tunes on the release are originals, so that makes it (of course) even better!
Saxophones (of the E-flat variety) by Thomas Cunniffe - The final track is an eminently danceable Latin improvisation called “Viva la Famalia” that shows again how these fine musicians break down all of their differences to unite in fine music-making.
The title Alto Manhattan is a deft pun. Steve Slagle plays alto and lives on that island where some Latinos call the hilly upper end where he resides Alto Manhattan. Way uptown in the heights, Afro-Caribbean music emanates from everywhere. You get an education just walking around.
"In Just Time" is a cooker that cleverly alludes to the standard "Just in Time".
Even better is "Turning Point", a waltz that gives the guitarist the most room
on the set to play more contemporary blues lines that sting and burn. In other words, there is not a weak track in this set. Five solid musicians with searching hearts simply don’t leave room on the record for cliches or vapid interludes.
by Will Layman, Pop Matters
"LATEST OUTLOOK owes much of its charm and vitality to early influences, old friends and collaborative reunions....Lovano, whose presence is nearly always worth the price of admission, doesn't disappoint."
"The co-leaders, having played together for nearly two
decades, have achieved an empathy that results in several passages of
remarkable collective improvisation."
Will Smith, Downbeat Magazine, October 2005
"Live at the Jazz Standard is a field report from one
of today’s most inspired two-man teams."
David Adler, Jazz Times, October 2005
"Slagle is a relentless burner who ranks in the upper
echelon of sax players on the scene today"
Bill Milkowski, writer
”This is one major league player. Steve Slagle has learned
how to mix gusto with intelligence"
Mike Zwerin, Int'l Herald Tribune
"His solos have a combination of grit and urbanity that
fits the alto's soaring range and plaintive timbre like a glove"
Neil Tesser, Jazziz Magazine
"Slagle's tart alto tone illuminates the curious contours
that give shape to his tunes"
Mike Joyce, The Washington Post
"Slagle's playing on both alto and soprano was brilliantly
fluent, full of ideas and constanly searching"
Rob Adams, The Herald (Scotland)
"He has a mellow tone devoid of abrasive edges which
allows the music to flow along."
Cadence Magazine, March 2002
"Get ready for atag team of heavyweights ,a pair of
soulmates who bring some of the hippest sounds the Big Apple has to offer"
Mike Joyce, Washington Post
"Slagles's incisive alto and soprano tone is perfectly matched
by Stryker's lean guitar."
John Corbett, Chicago Reader
"Charles Mingus died in 1979, but the great jazz composer-bassist's
music--a protean, self-contradictory universe, alternately brawling and
tender, passionate and cool, angry and seductive--continues to find new
listeners The Mingus Big Band, assembled in 1991 by the composer's widow,
Sue Mingus, plays only Mingus music. The composer left behind a huge oeuvre,
much of it not only unrecorded but unheard. In five years, the MBB has
grown into a relaxed, well-oiled machine, and by continually adding new
arrangements, it avoids stagnation. It's a better band than ever today.
Live in Time has plenty of meaty, memorable solos by alto saxophonist
and arranger Steve Slagle, trumpeters Ryan Kisor and Randy Brecker, pianists
Kenny Drew Jr. and John Hicks and saxophonists Gary Bartz, John Stubblefield
and Seamus Blake, but the real star is this world-class band, swinging
through Mingus's music with an ease that masks the music's difficulty."