Reviews: Begin Again
By Joe Lang
my ears, there is no better alto player around today than Dave Glasser.
Listen to "Begin Again" (Chiaroscuro - 373), and I believe
that you will quickly understand why I feel the way that I do about
Glasser. He has a wonderful tone, masterful command of his instrument,
great taste in his choices of tunes, bandmates and notes, probably swings
in his sleep, can play with equal inventiveness at any tempo, and his
overall musicianship is spectacular. The three ballads, Gigi Gryce's
"Reminiscing," Glasser's own "Begin Again" and Thelonious
Monk's "Reflections" all have a film noirish feeling. Glasser
contributed two other tunes, "Team Time" and "Bossa for
Brigitte," the former a boppish swinger, and the latter just what
the title describes. Pianist Tardo Hammer's "Conviction" has
a Monkish influence. Glasser also delves into the catalog of fine jazz
tunes for Charlie Parker's "Steeplechase," Gryce's "Social
Call," Dizzy Gillespie and Kenny Clarke's "Salt Peanuts,"
Lester Young's "Tickle Toe" and Monk's "Epistrophy."
His affection for standards is evident on the opener, Cole Porter's
"In the Still of the Night," John Latouche, Ted Fetter and
Vernon Duke's "Taking a Chance on Love" which shows up right
in the middle of the program, and Ned Washington and Leigh Harline's
"When You Wish Upon a Star," the album closer. Glasser has
a tight rhythm section with Hammer on piano, Lee Hudson on bass and
Tony Jefferson on drums. "Begin Again" fuses the best elements
of swing and bop into an album that captures the kind of uplifting effect
that jazz can have when it is performed at the highest level as it is
New Jersey Jazz Society Newsletter
March 1, 2004
By David Franklin, Jazz Times April 2004
Although Altoist Dave Glasser didn’t name his album after Gigi
Gryce’s tune Social Call, the song is one of 14 nicely varied
tracks on his Begin Again (Chiaroscuro). They also include
compositions by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and
Lester Young as well as three by Glasser, one by pianist Tardo Hammer,
and three from the Great American Songbook. As might be assumed from
his repertoire, Glasser can play some bebop. He flies over his alto
with a surefooted agility rarely demonstrated by even the most proficient
saxophonists. Plus, he knows the idiom inside out. Accordingly, his
playing on Parker’s medium groove “Steeplechase” and
on the uptempo “In The Still Of The Night” to name but two
are superb examples of bebop alto. But what really makes Glasser a rarity
is his ability to shift gears, as he does the title tune and elsewhere,
and play with the kind of beautiful tone and mannerisms that evoke the
great swing-era star Johnny Hodges. Pianist Tardo Hammer offers up some
fine bop piano himself and, with bassist Lee Hudson and drummer Tony
Jefferson, supplies solid support for the leader.
Glasser - Begin Again 5/4+
O's Notes: Dave plays a mean alto sax ranging from cookin' bop
on the opener and "Salt Peanuts" to romantic on "Bossa
Brigitte". The character of is tone is on the raspy side but loaded
with heart felt emotion. His technique is also outstanding but what
makes his music so appealing is that he know when to play what!
This is a maturity that eludes many musicians. This is a hot
D. Oscar Groomes
O's Place Jazz Newsletter
P.O. Box 337
Maplewood, NJ 07040-0337
from Begin Again
A Few Words from Frank Foster ….
David Glasser is an alto saxophonist who has deserved to be widely
heard and widely appreciated for well over a decade. He possesses the
quality of being both a musician’s musician and a people’s
musician. Talk about full, beautiful tone, control of the instrument,
“harmonic relevancy” through-the-roof and technique, Dave
has ‘em all in abundance. In any context, whether it’s leading
a five-member sax section, being the front line voice in a quartet,
part of a quintet, sextet, septet or whatever, “Glass” has
got it covered with ease. In stating a melody, Dave treats it with love
and respect, his sound truly expressing what the song is about (check
the beautiful intro verse on Social Call). When he improvises, “Glass”
knows how and when to keep it simple. You’ll find absolutely no
wasted motion; but when it’s time to “throw down”
with some flurries and snakes that’ll astound you he can do that,
too. There also you’ll detect no misplaced notes. He has warmth,
passion, funkiness and knowledge. I’ve stood in front of David
Glasser as a leader, and sat in front of him as a member of the audience.
He’s never disappointed me, and he’s delighted me with this
recording, backed by three excellent accompanists and soloists. Listen
up, everyone, and take my word for it, “Glass” will not
Few More From Clark Terry …..
“Dangerous” Dave Glasser is my pet name for Dave when I
introduce him to audiences at our performances. Our repertoire consists
of a lot of impromptu/extemporary adlibbing, sometimes referred to as
“setting riffs.” No one in the business does this simultaneously
with me quite like Evad, which is Dave spelled backwards. It’s
a rare pleasure coming to work when Evad is on the bandstand.
Dave has a great support system in his family: his dad, mom, sister
Sally (who is our mascot), his charming wife Cathy, and their young
son Gil (whom I call Gilbeau). They are usually there at our performances.
With a support system like that, one can’t help but swing.
That’s why this CD is so outstanding. His rhythm section is
superb and his choices of tunes (many of which he wrote) are “Top
Keep an eye and an ear on Evad – he’s really here to stay.
Still More From Phil Woods ….
Dave Glasser is a great alto player. I hear the tradition, Benny Carter,
Johnny Hodges, Charles Parker as delightfully lyrical but also loaded
with good sensible chops. I also hear a soupcon of Lee Konitz and Davey
Schildkraut – not a normal recipe but when you have chops, it
all comes out Dave Glasser.