Mar 31, 2021
Live performances have been at a premium these many pandemic-plagued months. A new live recording may be even rarer. But in October 2020, veteran saxophonist Jim Snidero found himself with an opportunity he couldn’t pass up – a chance to play a live gig at the famed Deer Head Inn in Pennsylvania and record it for the Savant imprint. He put together a top quartet for the performance, including Orrin Evans (piano), Peter Washington (bass), and Joe Farnsworth (drums). The result is his first live album in over thirty years, appropriately entitled Live at the Deer Head Inn.
Given the short notice he and his band had to prepare for the gig, the setlist was studded with standards, including two tunes associated with Charlie Parker - “Now’s the Time” and “My Old Flame” - that were especially moving given the appearance of Kim Parker at the show. A pair of Jerome Kern songs are featured, “Yesterdays” and “Ol’ Man River,” the latter introduced by a brief but timely statement by Snidero in support of Black Lives Matter. It’s a swinging set, and lovers of straight-ahead, bebop and hard bop will want to add Live at the Deer Head Inn to their collections.
Jim Snidero is a veteran recording artist with over 20 titles on EMI, Criss Cross, Milestone, and Savant labels, among others. A follower of Phil Woods and Dave Liebman, his sideman credits include the Mingus Big Band, Frank Sinatra, Eddie Palmieri, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Brother Jack McDuff and more. He is one of the most influential jazz authors in jazz education history, with his best-selling Jazz Conception book series (Advance Music) translated into four languages. His new series The Essence of Bebop promises to be another major contribution to jazz education. He is on the faculty at The New School, and has served as a visiting professor at both Princeton University and Indiana University.
Podcast 808 is my conversation with Jim Snidero, as we discuss the new album, his time with Frank Sinatra and the lessons he learned from the Chairman of the Board, and his recent albums Project K and Waves of Calm. Musical selections include “Now's the Time" from Live at the Deer Head Inn and the title track from Waves of Calm.