OK, I’ll admit I’m a sax fan and that I love good, up tempo, light and lively saxophone music that takes me places that I want to go musically. And if the background musicians make it interesting with some decent riffs, then even better. I always get excited to hear someone new and wonder if they’re going to be the next big head liner in a few years. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. The thirteen tracks from saxophonist Gary Honor (Trippin ‘n’ Rhythm records) gives me reason to get excited. Granted there are a couple of flute compositions on Heads & Tales,
they all go together with the help of keyboardist Oli Silk who is on board for the arrangements and production work.
He hits the ground running with the title track that begins with some nice keys before launching into a wall of sax that soon settles in for some really nice phrasing. I like his distinctive sound and enjoy the keyboards that Silk brings to the table. “Juan Step Ahead” moves along at a good pace with a lot of interesting background that only serves as a nice base for Honor’s sax. The sound continues to be light and lively and never getting caught up in the moment. As the title says, it stays just a step ahead, and you can hear that here in the music as well. I like “Under the Influence” a lot. Honor’s sax has a little more bite here as he transgresses from the norm with great styling. Silk adds some punch as well as some layers that make this one a good one to take note of. Bring in a little funk, as well as some cool vocals, and you have the makings of “Close to You.” This one never tarries to the side of boredom and is a snappy little number that will have your head bobbing as well as some singing as well.
There is a real live feel to “Don’t Push It” as the intro fades away into some really nice in your face sax work. A little layered in some passages, but the break out takes on the upper register of the horn. Love the infectious back beat that guitarist Neil Youel knocks out of the park. Honor hones in on his abilities here, and shows off the talents of this Australian. You’ll like this one. He and Silk pick up the pace for “Chatswood Chase” as the two of them go nonstop up and down the keys for a lot of fun. Silk even gets to stretch out just a bit on some solo work before Gary brings it home for a resounding ending. “Way Back When” has sort of a “Sax Pack” feel to it, with great notation and wonderful harmonies. Then he slows it down quite a bit with his soprano on the insightful, “Island Pearl.” It is a good lead in to “Leave Tomorrow Behind.” The lower keys of the tenor are a nice change of pace as it moves along at a sensual pace as Silk caresses the piano.
He’s back on track with “Rock the Jazzbah!” The groove is tight and Mark Jaimes adds some really nice guitar work through out this snappy number. This is a good “drive song,” and it’s one I think you’ll be hitting the repeat button on as well. It leads in to “Cor Blimey!” which may be the best of the bunch. It rocks from the beginning and is a good one for the Aussie to show of some polish. He keeps it interesting through out and even includes a little bari sax in the interlude before he takes off with some more screaming sax. He finishes up with his flute in the easy flowing “Dreamweaver.” It is a perfect ending to a really good project.
You may not have heard of him just yet, but Australian sax artist Gary Honor has a lot of good things going on for him with these thirteen tracks. If you’re like me and like good sax, you’ll want to get a copy real soon. Flip a coin on this one, and it’s going to land on Heads & Tales every time!