Alto saxophonist Jim Snidero has recently released his newest recording “Interface” on Savant Records. This represents the 16th recording Snidero has done as a leader. “Interface” features Snidero on alto sax as well as Paul Bollenback on guitar, Paul Gill on bass and McClenty Hunter on drums. It is also interesting to note that Snidero has composed all the tunes on this recording.
Snidero traveled the well-worn path from the University of North Texas (North Texas State) to New York City. He has played big band lead alto with a who’s who of today’s jazz big bands as well as recording and performing with a formidable list of today’s jazz greats. He is also the author of a series of very popular Jazz Conception books by Advance Music.
The hard driving title track starts things off with Snidero’s strong alto sound taking the melody over the pulsating rhythm section of Bollenback, Gill and Hunter. Snidero solos first on alto, gradually building in intensity. He speaks short sentences on the saxophone, pausing often and allowing the listener to digest his improvised lines. Bollenback takes the second solo, showing off his own skills on guitar. From the onset it is clear what a wonderful group of talented musicians Snidero has gathered for showcasing his compositions.
Silhouette features Jim Snidero with his clear alto saxophone sound and just a hint of vibrato on this slow and swinging ballad. Snidero deftly solos over the predominant triplet rhythms, as does Bollenback after him.
The rambunctious Fall Out follows the more subdued Silhouette. The solo order remains consistent with both Snidero and Bollenback exercising their enviable chops. Both Pauls hold down the groove while Hunter swings furiously behind Snidero. Hunter continues to swing even harder behind Bollenback’s guitar solo, which then leads into his own drum solo and the final statement of the head.
One by One, the longest cut on “Interface,” begins with an unaccompanied acoustic guitar intro. Snidero’s delicate alto takes the melody alone at first, and then is joined by Bollenback on an equally appealing accompaniment. Both Gill and Hunter play very lightly behind the remaining two. The subtone of Snidero’s alto is lovely here and contrasts nicely with his more resonant upper register. The entire quartet demonstrates great restraint on One by One, never trying to outdo one another or overplay.
My personal favorite on this recording is Aperitivo. This Snidero original is set to a pleasing Latin groove. It is reminiscent of the early Stan Getz bossa nova recordings yet with a slightly modern flair. I found myself smiling while listening to this one. Snidero may be able to please everyone with this song. The musicianship and soloing from each within the group is outstanding and even the casual listener can appreciate what they are hearing.
The opening cadenza of Viper reveals a more experimental and edgy side of Snidero, which quickly transitions into the pulsating Latin rhythms of Hunter and Gill. After Aperitivo, this is my next personal favorite. Paul Gill takes a lengthy solo on bass for the first time on Viper. Snidero’s cadenza is revisited, this time lending way into an angry and energetic solo on alto.
Quite by contrast to Viper enters the slow and lazy swing of After the Pain. Bollenback solos first over a bed of swinging quarter notes on Hunter’s ride cymbal. Then Bollenback seemingly antagonizes Hunter into a rhythmic frenzy in reaction to his bluesy guitar riffs.. Jim Snidero begins his solo simply, breaking into some wonderful double-time lines and then transitioning back again.
The final cut Expectations splits the difference between the ensembles’ bold, up-tempo pieces and tender ballads. Snidero stretches out on this one, occasionally reaching into his altissimo, playing angular lines and then swinging hard with the rhythms section. Bollenback briefly chords and solos followed by Gills second solo effort. Snidero plays what becomes the final melodic statement heard on “Interface.”
As done earlier on “Crossfire” and other releases, Jim Snidero has assembled a cast of world-class jazz musicians on his newest recording “Interface.” The ensemble of Bollenback, Gill, Hunter and Snidero keep the jazz tradition alive as well as blaze new trails for others to follow.
You can find out more about Jim Snidero at jimsnidero.com