release of In Good Company (Capri Records, 2011) is bittersweet for
British alto saxophonist Jake Fryer. The day after completing the
recording, fellow alto player Bud Shank died. It’s a sorrowful ending to a
dream come true, as Shank was one of the greatest influences for Fryer.
Fryer and Shank front the good company of Mike Wofford on piano, Bob
Magnusson on bass, and Joe La Barbera on drums. The date is played like a
live gig, as all nine tracks were recorded in one take.
The set begins with a fresh take on the familiar. The band covers Duke
Ellington’s “Caravan.” Apart from the brilliant play by the leads, the
rhythm section also delights. “Tip Top and Tickety Boo” is a Fryer
original. It’s a spirited, playful piece.
Throughout the set, the interaction of the players is evident. No one
musician stands out because they all complement one another.
Fryer has appeared with Ronnie Scotts in London as part of the Brit Fest.
He has also played alto with The Four Tops and headlined at the Duc des
Lombards Jazz Club in Paris.