In a field where so many saxophonists opt for the smoother sound, it’s
always a good day when an artist plays the instrument with an edge, an
old-school verve. Chad Lefkowitz-Brown comes through with Onward
Lefkowitz-Brown plays the tenor sax. His accompanists are
Steven Fiefke on piano; Raviv Markovitz on bass; and Jimmy MacBride on
drums. Special guest Randy Brecker plays trumpet on a couple of tracks.
The title song opens the set in dramatic fashion. This hard-charging,
free-spirited piece is like a call to move forward. Upbeat, with solid
play from all, it’s a song that can get you on your feet, or that you can
enjoy just listening. Lefkowitz-Brown leads most of the way, but there’s
not a moment when you don’t feel the others. Fiefke also has a stunning
Brecker sits in on “Franklin Street” and “Blues for
Randy.” The former is a cool, moderately paced song that allows for plenty
of interaction between tenor and trumpet, with lots of grooves laid down
by the bass, piano and drums. The latter is a funkier piece that’s played
with a lot of sass.
Lefkowitz-Brown, 27, has toured with pop
superstar Taylor Swift, and jazz greats such as Dave Brubeck and Arturo
O’Farill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra. One challenge for jazz artists, or
any instrumentalist, is to attract young audiences. If it’s not catchy or
has someone singing or rapping, many of today’s youth lack the patience.
Lefkowitz-Brown cuts through that barrier through the use of social media.
His presence on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube has made some inroads to
the millennial general.
Though he has earned comparisons to Randy
Brecker’s deceased brother, Michael, Lefkowitz-Brown on this date also
conjures impressions of Sonny Rollins and other legends of that era.
Lefkowitz-Brown composed five of the nine tracks. The rest are covers
of songs by Stevie Wonder, Hoagy Carmichael, John Coltrane and Cole