Jazz saxophonist Bob Mover has an intriguing resume. A protege of Phil Woods, he was playing professionally at age 16 and subsequently performed alongside many stars, including Charles Mingus, Chet Baker, and one my favorites, alto sax legend Lee Konitz. It was an impressive beginning.
Mover also spent some time leading his own group, but over the last three decades has been sort of an undiscovered gem — a pro's pro who is respected by his peers but not particularly well-known to the general public. His new album on the Zoho label, It Amazes Me, is a great opportunity for jazz lovers to discover – or rediscover – his talent.
Although it's a new issue, the music itself was actually recorded a couple of years ago when Mover recruited pianist Kenny Barron, drummer Steve Williams, and bassist Dennis Irwin (who died this year) to join him in the studio. On a few of the tracks he also enlisted a couple of guest stars, guitarist Reg Schwager and tenor saxophonist Igor Butman.
It's a nice mix of traditional and post-bop jazz with a little extra spice thrown into the mix by the addition of Mover's vocals on six of the ten tracks. Although he's a passable singer, I probably enjoyed those interludes less than the purely instrumental — but maybe that's just me.
In any case, when Mover wields his sax – either alto and tenor – he's at his best. Whether it's his play on standards like "People Will Say We're In Love," and "Stairway To The Stars," or the lush and Latin "(Tu Mi) Delerio," he's a delight.
The one original on the album is Mover's composition, "Erkin," a nice piece that's reminiscent of the bop era and provides guest saxman Butman the chance to show his stuff. My favorite here was probably "Sometime Ago," a nicely paced and soothing tune that not only features some of Mover's best solo play but also spotlights guest Schwager's sparkling guitar.
An outstanding collection — highly recommended.