Chris Doc Stewart
Jim Santella, Cadence Magazine
The quintet swings with the kind of energy that can only come from many years of experience. Stewart's ensemble has the needed experience; both through years of performing and through years of listening. The Blues comes through on "Work Song," as Stewart and his comrades dig in. The leader's fluid alto ebbs and flows with plenty of spirit. His accuracy and that of the quintet, which he calls Phoenix, also come with high marks, as they forge their way through territory that has inspired may. Stewart honors the memory well. Substituting the tenor saxophone moans of Lucas Pino for the cornet wails of Nat Adderley seems like an unlikely ploy, but Phoenix makes it work well. Stewart's musical arrangements pair the tenor with alto so that Pino takes the trumpet harmony. When soloing, the tenor saxophonist proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the substitution was a good idea. Similarly, piano and bass do the Straight-Ahead charm f Adderley's quintet justice. They're memorable songs, and Chris Stewart's Phoenix make 'em swing convincingly. His alto persuades, his writing works, and for the feeling that he's put into this project, Stewart's album comes highly recommended.
Carmel DeSoto, Jazz Police
The disc opens with High Fly, an in the pocket swinging, hire wire act of musical textures and technique with tenor saxman, Lucas Pino burning riffs that will light your ears on fire and Stewart in the alto sax seat creating rhythmic complexities and equally spicy hot offerings.Work Song, continues the dramatic excursion, keeping the temperature at a boiling point. Phoenix is a fitting tribute to Adderley, but not a regurgitation of the original release. This band of musical brothers really lay it down. The disc continues with Sack O Woe, again continuing a canvas for the group to paint their renditions. A nice texture change brings us to Stars Fell on Alabama, a beautifully touching ballad that opens with Stewart setting the mood and again showing his ability to not only deliver high energy soloing but to beautifully articulate the beauty of a ballad. The disc continues with rhythmic adventures and a plethora of technical prowess, there is never a dull moment or a lack of energy. This tribute to Cannonball shines in its own spotlight as a worthwhile release that can stand on its own. Phoenix is truly a disc worth adding to your collection, with focus towards the jazz enthusiast who likes their release filled with meat, this disc also delivers a generous helping of potatoes and vegetables on the side.
Nancy Ann Lee, Jazz Blues Magazine
Alto/soprano saxophonist ChrisDoc Stewart is not only a talented musician-leader, hes a prominent emergency room physician for the Mayo Clinic
Hospital. On this disc, he heads a solid group featuring Lucas Pino (tenor sax),Dan Delaney (piano, Fender Rhodes),Chris Finet (bass), and Dom Moio
(drums).Tunes by the Adderley brothers include Nat Adderleys Work Song and Jive Samba, and Julian Adderleys Sack O Woe, Hamba Nami, and
Domination. Remaining tunes are by Josef Zawinul, Bobby Timmons, Randy Weston. Stewart arranged all the tunes and solos by him and the astonishing 18-year-old improviser, Pino, are superbly executed with support from a sterling rhythm team. One of nine musical siblings, Stewart was born in Chicago in 1960 and raised
on a farm. He began playing alto at age 10 and, after his family moved to California, Stewart won awards for his playing while in high school, gigged with local big
bands, and played other reed instruments. Stewart has created a 21-volume transcription library of Cannonballs solos out of which this project arose.
The selected material, smart arrangements, talented musicians and passionate solos make this recording a highly enjoyable listen.
Chris Stewart has chops on prominent display in this Julian Adderley tribute. Perhaps by plan, the recording took place on the 50th anniversary of Adderley's first record date AND the 50th anniversary of the passing of an alto genius by the name of Charles Parker. The players, I must say, are all unfamiliar to me. Since the recording was made in Tempe, Arizona, they're probably all Arizona resident musicians, but they're obviously steeped in this tradition and they play with skill and inspiration. For the record, in addition to Stewart, they are: Lucas Pino, tenor sax; Dan Delaney, piano and Fender Rhodes; Chris Finet, acoustic and electric bass; and Dom Moio, drums. Any Cannonball fan will recognize titles like High Fly, Work Song, Sack O' Woe, Stars Fell On Alabama, Jive Samba, Dis Here, Country Preacher and a medley of Walk Tall and Mercy, Mercy, Mercy. The one tune which wandered into the menu from I'm not sure where is the ancient Sidewalks Of New York. Cannonball probably recorded it one time or another, and Stewart's quintet puts in new dress with a cool, understated electric piano. You wanna talk heroes? One listen to this CD and you can tell where Chris Stewart "comes from."
AMG (All Music Guide)
Each player contributes some solos and great accompaniment, but Stewart tends to stay out front in the proceedings. Luckily, his performances are essentially flawless. It succeeds well in general, worth hearing for fans of Adderley perhaps, but more so worth hearing simply as some nice post-bop performances.
Gilbert, Ejazz News
Saxman Chris Stewart is at his best on "Stars Fell On Alabama" a tune which has a lovely melody and Stewart plays it respectfully (and in Cannon's style)... Nice changes and a brief quote from "How Are Things In Glockamorra" brought a smile. Stewart has Adderley down pat and he demonstrates his rapid fire runs perfectly. A nice piano solo by Dan Delaney adds potent libation to this musical mixture. "Domination" is performed at racehorse tempo and Chris Stewart's sax is on fire as he gets it all with dexterity and interesting ideas. Speed doesn't kill in this instance, it celebrates a fiery beginning. This is a formidable quintet and strong medicine from Doctor Stewart and
Sheldon T. Nunn
The velvet textures contained within the limitless attributes of this album are smoothly conveyed. Stewart's portrayal of the 1975 release adds a 21st century touch of originality filled with classic improvisation. The instrumental variations Chris provides are testaments to his own level of creativity. Overall, there is a rhythmic appeal and supplemental coolness attached to eleven tracks of musical tribute. Chris Stewart has redefined the original message into an upscale vessel of individual intuitiveness, one that is primed to push the envelope of jazz even further than the first. But make no mistake about it, the voice you hear is all Stewart's, even as he echoes the presence of Cannonball Adderley looming in the background.
'Phoenix: A Tribute to Cannonball Adderley' has the necessary ingredients for a high degree of jazz activated symbolism. Saxophonist Lucas Pino takes on the shroud of Nat Adderley's cornet with sensitivity and brilliance. He does so without the burden of exaggerated imitation, but do take note; the overall scope of this recording is its superb ability to pay tribute to a jazz legend without being predictable. Stewart has injected a tremendous amount of Cannonball's style and intellect into every nook and cranny of this release. Tenor saxophonist Lucas Pino may be young, but like a fine wine his sound is invitingly delicate and smooth in style. Pianist Dan Delaney provides yet another posture; he expands upon a colorful panoramic spectrum Chris Stewart has so eloquently painted. Dan's passionate licks are effervescent and translucent throughout. When examining this recording for everything artistically correct, the whole project bleeds passion and heartfelt emotion. At first glance, this unique special tribute to Cannonball Adderley may be misconstrued as merely another copycat intrusion that lacks any consideration. But jazz beginners and connoisseurs alike will have a renewed respect for one of jazz's finest saxophonists, most of which has come through the creative flow of Chris "Doc" Stewart. As has been stated, 'Phoenix: A Tribute to Cannonball Adderley' - "50 Years from Bird to Cannonball" is an altogether fine piece of work. The album could well be one of the finest Cannonball Adderley tributes heard to date.
Santella, Jazz Improv.
Capturing the feeling that Cannonball Adderley left us through a storied career and an unmistakable alto saxophone technique steeped in the blues, Doc Stewart honors the memory with a fine quintet thats based in Phoenix, Arizona. Two of Nat Adderleys best-known compositions, Jive Samba and Work Song, alone, give the program its stand-out character. Stewart has borrowed the programs lineup from Adderleys next-to-last recording, Phenix. Theyre memorable songs that are not meant to be re-created by just anybody. Dis Here opens with familiar two-horn harmony and oozes with sensual pride. Stewart steers his alto over a mountain range of peaks and valleys, as he interprets the familiar refrain with the same kind of heartfelt charm as the original. He and tenor saxophonist Lucas Pino stretch out for their solos with authority. Both acoustic bass and piano solo liberally throughout the album, giving it a luster that sizzles intensely. The quintets arrangements keep them quite close to the original Adderley album. Straight-ahead, acoustic jazz with deep feeling has never gone out of style. Electric bass and soprano saxophone change the colors of Country Preacher on cue. Here, the passion is hot, but the mood is subdued. Walk Tall and Mercy, Mercy, Mercy come with built-in soul, as Fender Rhodes, electric bass and a backbeat drummer provide a solid rhythmic foundation. The quintet has captured the essence hands down. His album comes highly recommended.
"Doc's CD, Phoenix goes Chartbound on Jazzweek the first week in promotion "
Tad Hendrickson, JazzWeek Reviews Editor
Some musicians play music because they have to, others because they want to. Chris "Doc" Stewart falls into the latter category because he comes by the "Doc" honestly as an ER doctor. His musical oath, however, is to alto saxophone, and Stewart has taken it upon himself to transcribe every Cannonball Adderley solo ever recorded. Stewart has the requisite post-Bird fluidity and bluesy grit that were such important facets of Cannonball's sound. And while there is no doubt about the influence, Stewart's playing should bring a smile of happy recognition to Cannonball fans instead of grimaces of annoyance. Taking on several Adderley favorites (highlights are "Domination," "Work Song" and the closing medley), he's backed by a solidly capable backing quintet from his Tempe, Arizona hometown. Certainly a good recording for what it is.
Aaron Fensterheim, My Kind
Last week I received a CD in the mail entitled "Phoenix" and I was thinking a re~issue of "Cannonball Adderley's" 1975 Fantasy lp of the same name.
Low and behold, this cd is a tribute to Cannon and his influence Charlie Parker. The similarities stop with the title, no imitating Bird or Cannonball by the leader, Chris Stewart. Just a nod to them in terms of the fire in Chris and all the members of the quintet. Excellent ensemble and equally marvelous solo work. My only criticism is the misspelling of Randy Weston's "Hi~Fly". You will be playing this CD over and over again. No copy cats here.
Karl Stober, Ejazz News
For the Nat Adderley fandom corralled amongst the jazz populace of which there is many, this tribute project ranks above most. Smooth in texture and graceful as to delivery, Doc Stewart's 2005 release of Phoenix, a tribute to Cannonball Adderley is classic cool, mixed with modern innovation. Slight instrumental changes along with fresh age-diverse talent catapults this recording to a higher level of admiration. Please take note this is not you're A-typical assembly line tribute. Stewart has injected Stewart style and intellect throughout. Tenor saxman, Lucas Pino, may be young but like a fine wine engages a smooth and delicate style as he pours out his sound. No short takes on this spin; each cut takes you on a long and complex musical journey. The Phoenix flies free and wild, so does this incredible sound! "Sack O' Woe," has outstanding rhythms and tone along with a heated sax. "Stars Fell on Alabama," has such a sultry intro as the sax redefines the standard. Stewart and company recreate the Parish feel and execute a smooth texture to this classic sound. Pianist, Dan Delaney, compliments this cut with a solo as he enhances the effect. A premiere slice on this disc!
Nicholas Sheffo, Fulvue Drive-In
I found the album, a work by Chris Stewart and musician friends, to be somewhat ambitious.
John Ziegler KUMD Radio
This tribute to Cannonball is smokin'...and to think this "Doc" is the real deal (at the Mayo Clinic). He can operate on the bandstand and the Medical Center.
Joost Van Steen Jazz
& Blues Tour Radio
"This is JAZZ to The MAX!
HUON FM Australia
This is a most rewarding album which is both a tribute to the often overlooked body of recorded work by Cannonball Adderley and also to the fine
alto sax work of Chris Stewart ...
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