this is arguably Snidero’s most accomplished and personal statement to date.

Savant SCD 2215

Jim Snidero (alto saxophone); Peter Washington (bass); Joe Farnsworth (drums)

Recorded October 24, 2023

Saxophonist Snidero is a master musician who keeps his feet firmly on the ground and in the tradition. His previous album for Savant, the well-received quintet date Far Far Away very nearly saw him relegated to a sideman role on his own date as guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel dominated the opening couple of numbers.

No such issues here though, as the altoist has pared down the line up to a trio with no chordal instrument. Given Snidero’s extensive discography it is somewhat surprising that this is a record he has waited so long to make, but by his own admission is a format he has shied away from, not feeling confident enough to take the plunge and place himself in such an exposed setting.

Once the decision was made the saxophonist has been savvy enough to bring on board two of the most experienced bass and drums team possible in Peter Washington and Joe Farnsworth, and if the trio leaves nowhere to hide then the theory of a top-drawer rhythm section to keep the music moving is not a bad idea at all.

From the opening title track Snidero is not to be rushed, and he immediately sounds relaxed and in control. The empathy with bass and drums is clearly audible, and Washington and Farnsworth give the ideal support to the alto lines and Snidero allows his solos to unfold in their own time. When called upon to solo, both bass and drums do so with much good taste, but this time out it is definitely the altoist’s gig.

After taking his time, much to our delight, with the opening piece Snidero delivers an impeccably nuanced ‘Naima’, and one quickly becomes used to hearing it played in a different register from the familiar tenor saxophone. The strength in Snidero’s approach is that it errs on the side of understatement and allows Coltrane’s melody to take centre stage.

This feeling of understatement and letting the tune appear to do the work is also heard on the fine reading of Alex Wider’s ‘Blackberry Winter’ and a canny version of ‘My Funny Valentine’ that utilises Snidero’s full and warm alto sound to the maximum.

Not all taken a snail’s pace however as Snidero and company kick things up a notch with a brisk ‘Love For Sale’ with an opening statement from bass and alto before Farnsworth enters to stir proceedings up a little more with some deft brushwork before picking up the sticks.

It is inevitable that Bird would have to be acknowledged, even if Snidero’s style is working away from straight ahead bebop, and the altoist tackles ‘Parker’s Mood’ in a manner that is respectful yet very much with his own sound and approach to the blues.

As impressive as Far Far Away was, when the altoist was able to get his nose in front, this is arguably Snidero’s most accomplished and personal statement to date.