Friday, April 18, 1997
The Daily News
Ron Foley Macdonald
Major jazz album worth the wait
Bucky Adams - In a
Lovin' Way, (Deep Nine/Independent)
BUCKY ADAM's new CD is a
further proof of the strength of the local jazz scene. The veteran
tenor saxophonist from Halifax's north end has been a fixture in musical
circles for a long time. Remarkably, this independently recorded
album is his first major release. Relaxed, confident and solidly
executed, In a Lovin' Way is a fine showcase for Adams's smooth playing
and writing talents.
All but one of
the tunes are composed or co-composed by Adams. Many of the titles
refer to the saxman's early days in the north end. While the tunes
evoke a strong sense of time and place, they are far less descriptive than
Joe Sealy's recent Juno Award-winning Africville Suite. Adams has a
less ambitious agenda. The smaller project retains a ripe sense of
immediacy. The instrumentation - a bright, swinging quartet of Skip
Beckwith on standup bass, David James on drums and co-writer Woody Woods
on piano - is direct and intimate. The result is a comfortably
swinging sound that allows Adams maximum room to glide his horn over a
polished but surprisingly forceful backing.
saxophone style fits nicely between the round, rolling tones of jazz great
Coleman Hawkins and the honking calls of rhythm and blues legend King
Curtis. On the opening track, Maynard Street, Adams reaches back to
the sound of the late '50s when jazz and vocal R&B weren't so far
apart. The perky melody sets up fine solo playin by Adams, while
James Beckwith and Woods percolate along nicely. The tune closes
with juicy sax runs that whet your appetite.
pace of the second track, I Dream of You,, allows the quartet an
expressive dynamic range. The melancholy melody draws up images of
lonely afternoons of quite desire; the tune reaches a peak with Adams's
soul-searching solo. There's not a misplaced note. For jazz,
it's a little marvel of economy: concise, disciplined and moving.
There a couple of
departures that help vary the sound. The title track features a
warm, dignified vocal from Adams. Fans of the lounge pop-culture fad
be warned: this is the real thing. Full, joyful and swinging, In a
Lovin' Way is the kind of performance that can only come from a wizened
veteran who endured all the ups and downs of jazz over the last 30 years.
Good Days is a pert, delightful waltz that lets Adams whirl his way right
back to the styles of the late '40s. Accompanied by the alternative
funk band Hu Noo, which sounds like it's auditioning for a 1951
high-school variety show, it leads into the raucous and uninhibited
Bucky's Back, a jazz-rock excursion powered by wah-wah guitars and a heavy
drumbeat. Adams is willing to stretch out into unknown territory.
It's an unexpected and inspired combination.
returns to Earth with a gorgeous piano and sax reading of the only
non-original selection, Deep Purple by Mitchell Parish and Peter De Rose.
Adams and Woods play it as a late-night saloon tune, the kind jazzers
indulge in after everybody has gone home except the bartender. The
guys are playing for themselves here. We're just lucky the tape
recorder was running.
Stephen Outhit's Deep Nine Studio, In a Lovin' Way achieves a clean,
uncomplicated sound that shows Adams off at his best. Adams's own
liner notes provide a classy personal touch to a solid jazz album.