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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Welcome to Straight No Chaser, the Award-winning Podcast hosted by Jeffrey Siegel

Mar 12, 2024

New York’s premier hard-bop supergroup, One for All has evolved over the course of its quarter-century history from a sextet of young torchbearers to an assemblage of the music’s most revered traditionalists. Just how in-demand these six artists have become can be traced by the span of time that elapses between albums. 2016’s The Third Decade followed its predecessor by five years; seven years of that decade have now passed before the band’s long-awaited follow-up, Big George.

Due out March 15, 2024 from Smoke Sessions RecordsBig George features the unparalleled line-up of tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, trumpeter Jim Rotondi, trombonist Steve Davis, pianist David Hazeltine, bassist John Webber, and drummer Joe Farnsworth. This time around the group has invited a very special guest for the proceedings – tenor sax legend George Coleman.

While the title of Big George is a nod to Coleman, the session is not a “tribute album” in the traditional sense. The tip of the hat is more an acknowledgment of the giants who still walk among us – a list that has grown distressingly (if inevitably) shorter over the sextet’s 27-year lifetime. Coleman is a living legend with an emphasis on the “living,” and his vital presence on three of the album’s nine tracks is less about paying homage than an opportunity to breathe fire alongside one of the greatest to ever do it.

Coleman is approaching his 89th birthday, and still plays with the classic sense of Memphis blues that is his birthright. Underrated as a leader for much of his career, he was an invaluable part of recordings and performing bands with all the greats, from Max Roach and Chet Baker to Elvin Jones and Charles Mingus to Horace Silver and Lee Morgan. He was a crucial part of some of the most important recordings in jazz history, holding the saxophone chair on Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage, and Miles Davis’ Seven Steps to Heaven, and the live albums My Funny Valentine and Four and More.

Podcast 970 is Part One of my two part conversation with George Coleman, as he talks about his collaboration with One For All and looks back on his past with sharp and sometimes surprising detail. Musical selections from Big George include the Jim Rotondi composition “Oscar Winner.”