Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Stein Brothers

A good trivial question is: 'What ever happened to the Hollyday Brothers'? Two infant terribles that were to set the jazz world aflame. This was back in the 80s mind you.
On the fast track comes The Stein Brothers sans the hype, nor as juiced as the Harper Brothers (who had a better run than the Hollyday boys). Their debut release, 'Quixotic' (Jazzed Media), is inauspicious enough. Its relative low edged mien sort of sneaks up on you and you suddenly 'realize these guys are under 30'!
From their web page 'steinbrothersjazz.com the brothers began their jazz jump, "in the Greater Newark / North Jersey Area with a growing New York presence, Asher and Alex are still in their twenties. They started their careers playing in the late lamented Tuesday jam session at the old Peppermint Lounge". Alex and Asher, tenor and alto sax respectively are more importantly students of the master Barry Harris. And he can be quite proud of his progeny.Close your eyes, listen to the music and you're transported back in time. It's the late 50s.
Their sound sings, literally! Asher, with a Gigi Gryce spiritedness. Alex, a Teddy Edwards sensibility of tone. Fronting a 'regular' working band the real kicker of the group is the woefully under recorded pianist Mferghu (nee Michael Ferghuson). The last this writer heard of the pianist was on a 1992 recording, Graham Haynes 'Parisian Nocture' (Muse). If he can be dubbed, 'Barry Harris, Jr.' or the heir apparent so be it. Mferghu has a deft accompanying touch, harmonic control and is the writer of three of the discs 12 tunes.
Rounding out the rhythm section is bassist Doug Largent and drummer Joe Blaxx, two able pros. Also guesting are trumpeter Duane Eubanks (who I'd like to hear more from), and trombonist Jonathan Voltzok.
Besides standards 'East of the Sun', 'Embraceable You' and 'This Time the Dreams on Me' the Stein Brothers band serves up their own recipe of tunes along with an old Barry Harris line, 'And So I Love You'. The music is tight with a lasting finish. It'll be interesting to hear what comes next. I'm sure it'll be on the upside

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