Lance Bryant's debut CD is a tasty fusion of blues, gospel and mainstream jazz. The Boston trained musician graduated from Berklee with a sound foundation in composition and arranging. While attending the prestigious college, he forged friendships with classmates Branford Marsalis, Greg Osby, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Wallace Roney and Cyrus Chestnut. He and Cyrus Chestnut would work together later on Carla Cook's fine sessions for Maxjazz. Later studies with Frank Foster further sharpened his arranging talents. As a clinician himself, he spends a week annually at the Lionel Hampton School of Music attached to the University of Idaho. New Yorkers had a chance to see Lance Bryant as a performer in the Broadway production Swing
Bryant's sincere religious beliefs plays a part in his current music as evidenced by his inclusion of Psalm
and I Want To Walk With Jesus
. The saxophonist kicks off Almighty Blues
at a fever pitch and throws in a powerful vocal. The tune features some great work by guitarist Marvin Sewell and pianist Rick Germanson. It was nice to hear Darryl Hall's acoustic bass throughout this recording. Hall was a guiding light in the Carla Cook record sessions and is certainly a player to watch.
A keen sense of humor shows up on Bryant's tune, June Bug
and it's well worth a listen, not only for the vocal, but for the fine sax solo and funky rhythms laid down by Willard Dyson.
Ballad lovers will enjoy Never Let Me Go
and the pretty Summer Evening Breeze
has something for everyone and is an hour well spent.