Jazz Society of Oregon Review

The JourneyExtracted from Jazz Society of Oregon

The Journey; Charles McPherson, alto sax.
The life-in-jazz journey of alto sax great Charles McPherson has found him in the company of Charles Mingus, Barry Harris, Art Farmer and loads of other heroes. That road also put him on the soundtrack to “Bird,” the Clint Eastwood film on the life of Charlie Parker. But it was a routine Denver gig that found him in the presence of such gifted locals that McPherson knew he just had to record with them. And this CD is the result.

McPherson’s bop chops remain firmly rooted as he explores a program of standards and originals with Keith Oxman, tenor sax; Chip Stephens, piano; Ken Walker, bass; and Todd Reid, drums – all first cabin players. A few highlights: his engaging alto and tenor meeting with Oxman on his original, “Manhattan Nocturne”; a fanciful flight on Parker’s classic bop line “Au Privave”; “I Should Care” is one of those “forever” ballads, and McPherson’s alto is appropriately sweet and tender; the title tune, with some tricky passages and bop-drenched lines, is fresh and vita; finally, another original, “Bud Like,” puts McPherson on a bebop horse race which of course he wins! His dedication to Parker is clear. Yet throughout a long career, McPherson has made his own unique place in the story of jazz.