Dennis Mitcheltree
Altenburgh, JGA 70025.

Dennis Mitcheltree, tenor saxophone; Johanness Wallman, Brian Sharron, piano; Jesse Crawford, Jeff Hamann, bass; Bill McClellan, Andy Algire, drums

The feeling of relaxation washes over one when listening to saxophonist Dennis Mitcheltree's CD, Transformation. On five of the nine tunes, he uses his regular working rhythm section of Johannes Wallmann on piano, Jesse Crawford on bass and Bill McClellan on drums. Dennis has some very original ideas when it comes to composing and arranging, and the majority of the numbers on this CD are his own. The songs flow from one into the other, starting with a fascinating number called "Absentikate." Especially enjoyable is the arrangement, which increases in intensity while leaving some space. McClellan, the drummer, is especially creative here, mixing it up from swing to latin without getting in the way.

"Time Waits," a ballad by Bud Powell goes on a little too long for my taste, but the next tune, "Suppressions," based on the modal Coltrane's "Impressions" has a great bass intro. Another original, "Gumbo," recalls New Orleans with a sense of humor, all the while keeping that Jazz bebop phrasing intact.

The remainder of the album was recorded at an earlier session, and on four of the tracks Mitcheltree features Brian Sharron on piano, Jeff Hamann on bass and Andy Algire on drums. With this group, Dennis wails on a haunting version of "Caravan," with some great phrasing coming out of that tenor sax. The title cut, "Transformation," has some nice bass-work from Hamann and some crisp tempo changes in and out of double-time. Nevertheless, overall I liked the working group better on this CD.

(Please see articles on Dennis Mitcheltree in Jazz Now- "Notes from the Apple," April 1999 and June 1999.)

by Lucy Galliher
East Coast Editor

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