Dave Anderson

Blue Innuendo
Label 1 L1-2003-2

Like shopkeepers who specialize in shoe repair, plumbing supplies or small appliance maintenance whose ubiquity is matched by their anonymity, now Brooklyn-based tenor and soprano saxophonist Dave Anderson is one of those journeyman players who makes the music business percolate without often taking centre stage. The Minnesota native whose associates have ranging from producer Creed Taylor to trumpeter Clark Terry has with Blue Innuendo produced a session that reflects his status. A laid-back cool school variant of the jazz organ trio and quartet tradition it’s pleasant and swinging, but lacks the visceral tenacity to put it into the top ranks.

It’s not from any lack of professionalism. Unhurried as a letter carrier on his rounds, Anderson is a constant presence on both his horns pushing carefully modulated lines forward. Guitarist Tom Guarna is part of Lenny White’s quartet, while organist Pat Bianchi has had long stints backing Pat Martino and Lou Donaldson and is even playing the studio instrument on which “"In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" was recorded in 1968. Plus drummer Matt Wilson is one of the most inventive and dependable in the business, having worked with everyone from Joe Lovano and Dewey Redman to Wynton Marsalis and John Zorn. Additionally every one of the CD’s 10 originals, all but one composed by Anderson hits its groove and maintains it for the duration of the track.

With every song reaching its albeit limited goals, there’s nothing to dislike about the session. Guarna even outputs some spacey progression on “22 Doors”. Plus on “The Phantom”, his salute to Joe Henderson, Anderson adds some bite to his tenor saxophone solo. In other words like a well-crafted major network TV show, everything clicks into placed as it should, A patina of familiarity hangs over the session though and the overall effect is that of a pleasant relaxing ride with almost no peaks and few valleys to avoid as it arrives at its destination.

Impressive for one or two tracks, the innuendo that’s evident after hearing more of the tunes is that of unrelieved sameness – and that can make the listener blue. Pleasant in the best yet reproachful way, Blue Innuendo is superior foot-tapping background sounds. But one would expect better from those involved.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Urban Dilemma 2. 22 Doors 3. 12-Step Blues 4. Parallel Present 5. Genealogy 6. Stuck 7. The Phantom 8. Two-Tone Tune 9. Blue Innuendo 10. Redeye.

Personnel: Dave Anderson (tenor and, soprano saxophones); Pat Bianchi (Hammond B 3 organ); Tom Guarna (guitar) and Matt Wilson (drums)