Jeff Hackworth

"Where the Blue Begins"

(Big Bridge Music)
Where the Blue Begins

Review by Brad Walseth

Saxophonist Jeff Hackworth is back again with another great release and he is just in time to rescue us from the doldrums. "Where the Blue Begins" is a catchy collection of standards and pop tunes performed in Hackworth's traditionally-minded way, and again produced by his mentor Houston Person. Starting with the Elvis Presley hit - "Can't Help Falling in Love" (performed here as a bossa) through to the finale "Stairway to the Stars," this recording is a straight-ahead delight that goes down as easy as "One Mint Julep."

The old sentimental movie theme, "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" is given welcome new life, while pianist Lafayette Harris Jr. joins right in with some classy swinging piano licks. Bassist John Webber and drummer Alvin Atkinson pitch in as well with tasteful solos. Guitarist John Basili shows up on some of the tunes as well, and adds to the delicious flavor.

Hackworth kills on the slow ballads like the beautiful rendition of "What Will I Tell My Heart," where Harris also shows a lovely delicate touch at the keyboard. Hackworth's tenor is big and bold, but he can sing a romantic lullaby as sweet as you would want. "Oh, You Crazy Moon" will have you longing for moonlight and some loving arms. But the sax man can really get at it too as on "Just-A-Sittin And A-Rockin,'" the bluesy "One Mint Julep" and "Stranger in Paradise," where he will keep your toes tapping joyfully to the sound.

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