Back from a three-decade break
Leonard Hochman is a mighty gray rookie. Now 61 years old, this is the Massachusetts reedman's first recording as leader. A longtime jazz musician, Hochman played with cats like Kai Winding, Sam Most and Herbie Mann in the '50s before quitting the music biz to raise his family. Now he's back, and it sure doesn't sound as if he's lost anything.
Hochman's instrument of choice isn't the tenor sax, although he plays it here, but the bass clarinet. Bass clarinet isn't exactly mainstream, but Hochman's approach to the instrument is so lyrical and melodic that you quickly forget what he's playing and get lost in how he's playing. The songs lend themselves well to his style: "Don't Misunderstand," "You Go to My Head," "Lover Man" and "Honeysuckle Rose" are among the covers.
The best cuts here are those where Hochman and his band are joined by singer Eula Lawrence, who's also a throwback to the age of torch songs. This is sophisticated, smart and sassy jazz.
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