Baritone saxophonist Adam Schroeder is one fortunate jazz cat, mostly because his sophomore record, Let’s, features a dream team of collaborators – guitarist Anthony Wilson, bassist John Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton, and also because this recording is a gift to audiophiles. Like all of Capri’s releases, the sound is uncommonly warm, punchy and vivid. That doesn’t mean that Schroeder rides shotgun. He’s an assertive talent with hard-hitting chops and plenty of good taste.
As a young adult, the saxophonist started as an alto player after hearing Charlie Parker, but switched to baritone and ended up being mentored by legendary trumpeter Clark Terry who instilled the value of altruism in his ward. From those early days Schroeder graduated to work with Ray Charles, Diana Krall, Sting, John Pizzarelli and currently plays as a member of the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra.
Let’s is impressive on all counts. The low register of the baritone sax is out front and always thrilling – -Schroeder and his band can swing and the harmonious arrangements give plenty of room for exemplary solos by guitarist Wilson, Clayton and Hamilton (we’ve heard these guys before on Diana Krall’s best recordings.) Schroeder’s virtuoso phrasing and singular tone highlight the fertile arrangements of Duke Pearson’s happy-sounding “Hello Bright Sunflower” and Benny Carter’s “Southside Samba” while his own compositions, from the gospel-tinged “Just Clap Your Hands” to the smoky Brazilian-styled “Patience Endurance, Steady Hope” shed light on the maturity of his songwriting skills. The varied program and Schroeder’s consummate playing style echoes the greats works by saxophonists like Gerry Mulligan and Pepper Adams. Given his talent, hot solos and deft melodies and a band that dazzles as a unit, Let’s is easy to recommend. (11 tracks; 61 minutes)