Stan Sulzmann’s music was described in the Guardian as 'ravishing, delicious, powerful, direct,…meticulously written’ and he was recently described by Marc Copland as “one of the greatest sax players in the world” and he should know. Their musical relationship goes back over 25 years and both musicians hold each other in the highest esteem. Marc Copland is without doubt one of the most lyrical and moving pianists around with “an undercurrent of swing that makes any band burn” The stellar company he keeps speaks volumes - Mike Brecker, Kenny Wheeler, John Abercrombie, Gary Peacock, Greg Osby to name but a few.
“The Jigsaw” (Basho Records SRCD 10-2) featuring Marc Copland, Larry Grenadier and Bill Stewart and recorded in New York earlier this year represents a long-awaited landmark in Stan’s career and has put him with the world class musical company he rightfully deserves.
Recorded at The Studio, Greene St, New York City 6/7
STAN SULZMANN is without
question one of the most highly respected musicians in the UK today, admired
by musicians and audiences for his instantly recognisable sound, and boundless
creative imagination, and is a source of inspiration to many of Britain's
emerging young musicians.
LARRY GRENADIER was born in 1966 in San Francisco, California. He began playing bass when he was 11. As a teenager in the San Francisco Bay area, Larry played with Joe Henderson, Stan Getz, Bobby Hutcherson among many others. He graduated from Stanford University in 1989 with a degree in English Literature. In 1990, Larry moved to Boston to play with Gary Burton's band. In 1991 he moved to New York City where he played in the bands of Betty Carter, Joshua Redman, Danilo Perez, David Sanchez, Tom Harrell, Joe Henderson, John Scofield, Pat Metheny and Brad Mehldau as well as recording dozens of records. Larry is also a member of the collective trio, Fly, along with Mark Turner and Jeff Ballard. Their first self-titled recording for Savoy was released in January 2004.
BILL STEWART was born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1966. He attended William Paterson College and the University of Northern Iowa and moved to New York City in 1989. Since that time he has appeared with many jazz greats, including John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Larry Goldings trio, Maceo Parker, Lee Konitz, Jim Hall, Joe Henderson, James Moody, Joe Lovano, Charlie Haden, James Brown, Bill Carrothers, Marc Copland, Michael Brecker, Kevin Hays, Chris Potter and many others. He has made 3 cds as a leader, including Think Before You Think (1989, Evidence), Snide Remarks (1995, Blue Note), and Telepathy (1997, Blue Note). Snide Remarks was chosen by The New York Times as one of the top ten jazz cds of 1995. Stewart is a two time winner of the Down Beat critics poll in the category of drummer deserving wider recognition.
"In a move that, on first glance, seems more aimed at garnering him a broader audience than anything else, British sax legend Stan Sulzmann is teamed with a dream team of American players including pianist Marc Copland, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Bill Stewart for his latest release, The Jigsaw. But if the grouping smells suspiciously of “session gig,” one listen to this outstanding disk is enough to dispel such skepticism. Truth be told, Copland has a relationship with Sulzmann that goes back over twenty-five years and while Grenadier and Stewart may be newcomers to Sulzmann's distinctive playing and writing style, you'd be hard pressed to tell. The Jigsaw may not win any awards for breaking new ground, but in the realm of post bop it simply doesn't get any better than this.
Copland continues to be a most intuitive accompanist. In the past couple of years he has recorded with artists including Gary Peacock, Greg Osby, Kenny Wheeler, John Abercrombie and Dave Liebman. In each case his own sensitive, impressionistic and at times abstract sensibilities seem to at once meld with those of the artists he is teamed with while, at the same time, asserting his own musical personality. On “Jack Stix,” which has just the slightest of Latin overtones in the theme, Copland asserts himself as a distinct personality who has evolved far beyond his original influences of Evans, Jarrett and Hancock.
Grenadier and Stewart make, quite simply, one of the best young rhythm sections around. Stewart, in particular, mines the same territory first carved out by Jack DeJohnette, but brings a sense of melody all too rarely heard from drummers.
The Jigsaw could have been just another session but instead, with fine writing from Sulzmann, Copland, Stewart and Wheeler, the interplay is all the more uncanny for the fact that this group only convened for two short days. Unquestionably one of the best post bop releases of the year, Sulzmann's The Jigsaw will hopefully hip North American audiences to what the British have known all along". John Kelman, Allboutjazz.com
"Despite his (entirely justified) high reputation among musicians and close observers of UK jazz, saxophonist/flautist Stan Sulzmann has made relatively few albums as a leader; The Jigsaw goes a considerable distance towards righting this wrong. Pianist Marc Copland and Sulzmann are longtime musical partners, and their easy rapport lies at the heart of a fluently interactive band, completed by a Rolls-Royce US rhythm section, lithe bassist Larry Grenadier and vigorous, punchy drummer Bill Stewart. All in all, though, this is Sulzmann's album, his elegant, alternately warbling and pleasantly rasping sound perfectly suited to his deceptively simple-sounding compositions, to those of his bandmates and Kenny Wheeler's typically plangent title-piece. Stewart and Grenadier push things along with just the right mix of power and delicacy, but it is the main soloists, Copland and Sulzmann, who render this unfussily virtuosic album compulsively listenable". Chris Parker, Jazz at Ronnie Scott's
"Tenor-soprano saxophonist Sulzmann may be one of Britain's best kept secrets, but the fact remains he's a truly outstanding player. And on this memorable album, made in New York last January, he's among peers; pianist Marc Copland, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Bill Stewart are as good as it gets. Moreover, Sulzmann's compositions - five of the eight pieces here are his; the remaining three are by Copland, Stewart and Kenny Wheeler - have a very savoury, distinctive character. Likewise, his lines are simultaneously logical and full of surprise. Most of all, the quartet goes about things with compelling relish and imagination. Sulzmann is in Whelan's next Sunday with Copland and the pianist's "working" trio of Drew Gress and Jochen Rückert. Not to be missed". RAY COMISKEY, THE IRISH TIMES, 17 SEPT Five Stars*****