If there’s one instrument richer in sound than the tenor saxophone, it’s the baritone. No disrespect intended for other instruments, but there’s just something about a freely expressive saxophone solo – especially if it’s a tenor, or in the case of Smul’s Paradise (Capri Records, 2012) by Gary Smulyan.
Though the baritone is the primary instrument, the album is a tribute to organ jazz legends. Smulyan is accompanied by Mike LeDonne on Hammond B3 organ, Peter Bernstein on guitar and Kenny Washington on drums.
The set clocks in at a shade under 53 minutes. The opening track is an extended visit with Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny.” Guitar and sax meld for the main theme, with some deft work by organ and drums in the background. It’s difficult not to think of Jimmy Smith when listening to LeDonne’s middle solo. He plays with the same verve that Smith delivered on “Night Train.”