Carol Sudhalter Quartet offers surprises on live album

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Carol Sudhalter presents her tenth album as a leader. The talented musician demonstrates prowess on three instruments, and as a special surprise on this latest album, “Live at Saint Peter’s Church,” Sudhalter herself sings.

About Carol Sudhalter, in brief

Sudhalter grew up in a musical family. Her father played alto sax in venues around New England. Sudhalter had two musician brothers, as well, including trumpeter and author, Richard Sudhalter.

Sudhalter herself took up the flute in college and studied baritone sax at the New England Conservatory of Music. In 1978, Sudhalter left New England for New York and began to explore new ways to make use of her skills on brass instruments. She played in the first all all-female Latin band and later formed the Astoria Big Band. The Astoria Big Band continues, 33 years later. In addition to playing in her own bands, Sudhalter has played with such notables as Etta Jones, Jim Cobb and Jason Marsalis, among others.

The sound and style of the Carol Sudhalter Quartet

Sudhalter plays baritone and tenor saxophone and flute. She is distinguished in all of the instruments she plays. On the album “Carol Sudhalter Quartet Live at Saint Peter’s Church” Sudhalter is joined by Patrick Poladian on piano, Kevin Hailey on upright bass and Mike Campenni on drums.

“…Live at Saint Peter’s Church” is comprised of classic songs, mostly, with one original tune on which Sudhalter pays tribute to one of her former students.

“Park Avenue Petite” by Carol Sudhalter Quartet

The song seems to exemplify what “jazz” sounds like in terms of what most reasonable adults understand. The elements are all there, especially in terms of the emotive saxophone. Even more “moody” in a good way, are the bass and piano. The drums shimmer gently in the background. The bass and saxophone create such a setting for the mood of the song that it is easy to get wrapped up in their exchange alone. The song is the sound of the end of a long, jazz-filled night. The sound evokes the image of dark nights, fading neon of nightclubs and what it sounds like when the last of the night’s jazz plays in a departing audiences’ heads. “Park Avenue Petite” sounds beautifully moody.

“Valse Hot” by Carol Sudhalter Quartet

Sonny Rollins’ jazz waltz receives respectful treatment in the hands of this ensemble. As listeners get used to soulful pleas of the baritone sax which is underscored nicely by soft drums and a bass presence that is almost more felt than heard.

Each instrument gets its moment for a showcase. But the beauty of the song is when they all play together in the stunning, but gentle arrangement.

The Carol Sudhalter Quartet surprises in all the right ways on this recording. For jazz fans who think they have heard all that the baritone sax can offer a song, this recording is a must-listen.

 

 

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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