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Buddy Sullivan 

Buddy Sullivan Celebrates Life and Love (Self-released)

Even though Buddy Sullivan has been a fixture of the Cleveland jazz scene for nearly 40 years (he helped develop the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra), his saxophone styling is anything but shopworn. How fresh he sounds -- and how in touch with tradition he is -- comes through on his latest disc.

Recorded with longtime associate Joe Hunter on piano, along with drummers Paul Samuels and Roy King, and bassists Dallas Coffey and Marti Greenberg, the disc covers a familiar waterfront. But unlike higher-profile attempts at profiteering from the Great American Songbook, Sullivan's takes on Gershwin, Ellington, Porter, Hammerstein, and lesser known composers unfurl with great joy and zero strain. When Sullivan interprets "But Not For Me" or "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry," he and the song spin long and leisurely, and wind up cheek to cheek, suggesting his listeners occupy that same space.

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More by Carlo Wolff

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